Surgery can be a part of the treatment plan for mesothelioma, but whether it can cure the disease depends on several factors such as the stage of the cancer, the patient’s overall health, and the extent of the tumor. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, abdomen, heart, or testicles, commonly associated with asbestos exposure.
For some patients with early-stage mesothelioma and good overall health, surgery may offer a chance of removing the tumor and potentially achieving a cure. However, mesothelioma is often diagnosed at a later stage when the cancer has spread, making complete surgical removal difficult.
Surgical options for mesothelioma may include:
- Pleurectomy/Decortication (P/D): This procedure involves removing as much of the visible tumor as possible from the lining of the affected lung and chest wall. It aims to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life but may not completely eradicate the cancer.
- Extrapleural Pneumonectomy (EPP): EPP involves the removal of the affected lung, the lining of the lung, portions of the diaphragm, and the lining of the heart if necessary. It is a more aggressive surgery and is typically considered for patients with early-stage disease.
- Cytoreductive Surgery with HIPEC: For peritoneal mesothelioma (affecting the abdomen), this surgery involves removing visible tumors from the abdominal cavity followed by heated chemotherapy directly in the abdomen (HIPEC – Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy).
While surgery can help manage symptoms, improve quality of life, and potentially extend survival, it’s often combined with other treatments like chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or targeted therapy for a more comprehensive approach to treatment.
Unfortunately, due to the aggressive nature of mesothelioma and the challenges of complete tumor removal, even with surgery and other treatments, a complete cure is often difficult to achieve, especially in later stages of the disease. However, advancements in treatment options and ongoing research offer hope for improved outcomes and better management of mesothelioma in the future.