Pleural mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer that affects the lining of the lungs (pleura), often caused by exposure to asbestos. Therapeutic approaches for mesothelioma typically involve a combination of treatments, which may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and sometimes immunotherapy or targeted therapy. Surgery can be a part of the treatment plan for pleural mesothelioma, aimed at removing cancerous tissue and alleviating symptoms. Here are some surgical options:
- Extrapleural Pneumonectomy (EPP): This is an extensive surgery where the surgeon removes the affected lung, the lining of the lung (pleura), portions of the diaphragm, and sometimes the pericardium (the lining around the heart). EPP aims to remove as much of the cancerous tissue as possible to improve the chances of successful treatment.
- Pleurectomy/Decortication (P/D): In this procedure, the surgeon removes the diseased pleura and any visible tumors while sparing the lung. This surgery aims to relieve symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, caused by the tumor pressing on the lung.
- Cytoreductive Surgery (CRS) with Heated Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC): Although more commonly used for peritoneal mesothelioma (affecting the lining of the abdomen), CRS with HIPEC involves surgical removal of visible tumors followed by heated chemotherapy delivered directly into the chest cavity to kill any remaining cancer cells.
The selection of the surgical approach depends on various factors including the stage of the cancer, the patient’s overall health, and the extent of the disease. Often, surgery is combined with other treatments like chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy for a more comprehensive approach to managing mesothelioma.
It’s important to note that while surgery can play a significant role in treatment, pleural mesothelioma is often diagnosed at an advanced stage, making it challenging to completely remove all cancerous cells. Hence, a multidisciplinary approach involving oncologists, surgeons, and other healthcare professionals is crucial for creating an effective treatment plan tailored to the individual patient.
As with any medical procedure, there are risks and potential complications associated with these surgeries. Patients should discuss these options thoroughly with their healthcare team to understand the potential benefits and risks before making treatment decisions.