Pleural mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs (pleura). Palliative surgeries for pleural mesothelioma are often aimed at relieving symptoms and improving the patient’s quality of life rather than curing the disease, as mesothelioma is typically diagnosed at an advanced stage.
Some palliative surgical options for pleural mesothelioma may include:
- Pleurodesis: This procedure involves the insertion of a substance (such as talc or another irritant) into the pleural space to create inflammation and scarring between the layers of the pleura. This fusion helps prevent the buildup of fluid (pleural effusion), which can cause breathing difficulties and discomfort.
- Thoracentesis: It’s a minimally invasive procedure where a needle is inserted into the pleural space to drain excess fluid that has accumulated around the lungs. This can provide immediate relief from breathing difficulties caused by fluid buildup.
- Pleurectomy/Decortication (P/D): Unlike more extensive surgeries like extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP), which aims to remove the affected lung, P/D involves the removal of the diseased pleura and any visible tumors while sparing the lung. This surgery can help alleviate symptoms and improve breathing by reducing tumor burden and preventing further fluid accumulation.
- Thoracoscopic Talc Pleurodesis: This minimally invasive procedure involves the use of a thoracoscope (a thin, flexible tube with a camera) to guide the placement of talc or another sclerosing agent into the pleural space, inducing inflammation and adhesion of the pleural layers.
- Thoracic Catheter Placement: In cases where pleural effusion recurs or cannot be managed by other means, a thoracic catheter (chest tube) may be inserted to continuously drain excess fluid and alleviate symptoms.
It’s important to note that the suitability of these palliative surgical options depends on various factors, including the patient’s overall health, the stage of the disease, and individual circumstances. Additionally, palliative surgeries aim to improve symptoms and quality of life but may not cure the cancer.
Patients diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma often receive multimodal treatment approaches that may involve a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and palliative care to manage symptoms and enhance their quality of life. The choice of treatment is usually determined by a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals specialized in managing mesothelioma cases.