Surgery is one of the treatment options for mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive cancer primarily caused by asbestos exposure. While surgery can be beneficial in removing tumors and improving a patient’s quality of life, it also carries potential risks and side effects. These may vary depending on the type of surgery performed and an individual’s overall health. Some potential side effects of mesothelioma surgery include:
- Pain and discomfort: After surgery, patients may experience pain, discomfort, or soreness at the surgical site. Medications are typically prescribed to manage pain during the recovery period.
- Infection: There is a risk of developing an infection at the surgical site, which may require antibiotics and additional medical treatment.
- Bleeding: Surgical procedures carry the risk of bleeding, both during the surgery itself and afterward. In some cases, patients may require blood transfusions.
- Blood clots: Surgery can increase the risk of blood clots forming in the legs (deep vein thrombosis) or traveling to the lungs (pulmonary embolism).
- Respiratory issues: For surgeries involving the chest cavity (such as pleurectomy or extrapleural pneumonectomy), there’s a risk of respiratory complications, including difficulty breathing or reduced lung function.
- Cardiac complications: Certain surgeries may put stress on the heart, leading to potential cardiac issues in some patients.
- Nerve damage: Surgical procedures can sometimes damage nearby nerves, causing temporary or permanent numbness, weakness, or altered sensations.
- Fluid buildup: Following surgery, fluid may accumulate in the chest or abdomen, requiring drainage or additional procedures.
- Scarring: Surgical incisions will result in scars. Depending on the type of surgery, scars may be more or less noticeable.
- Long-term effects: Some surgeries may have lasting effects on an individual’s quality of life, such as reduced lung function or changes in physical abilities.
It’s essential for patients to discuss the potential risks and side effects of mesothelioma surgery with their healthcare team. The benefits and risks of surgery should be carefully weighed, taking into consideration the patient’s overall health, stage of cancer, and individual circumstances.
After surgery, patients typically undergo a recovery period during which they are closely monitored by healthcare professionals to manage any complications or side effects that may arise. Follow-up care and rehabilitation may also be necessary to aid in the recovery process.