Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the mesothelial cells lining the chest or abdomen, commonly associated with exposure to asbestos. Surgery can be a part of the treatment plan for mesothelioma, but its feasibility and effectiveness depend on several factors, including the stage of the cancer, the patient’s overall health, and the location of the tumor.
Several types of surgical procedures can be considered for mesothelioma:
- Extrapleural Pneumonectomy (EPP): This surgery involves removing the affected lung, the lining of the chest wall, the diaphragm, and the sac around the heart. It’s often considered for patients with early-stage mesothelioma in the lung.
- Pleurectomy/Decortication (P/D): This procedure involves removing the diseased pleura (lining of the lung) and potentially parts of the affected lung. Unlike EPP, it spares the lung, which can be beneficial for some patients, especially those with compromised lung function.
- Cytoreductive Surgery (CRS) with Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC): For peritoneal mesothelioma affecting the abdominal lining, this combined approach involves surgery to remove visible tumors within the abdomen, followed by heated chemotherapy administered directly into the abdominal cavity to target any remaining cancer cells.
- Thoracoscopy or Laparoscopy: These minimally invasive procedures can be both diagnostic and therapeutic. They involve inserting a thin, lighted tube with a camera through small incisions to examine the chest or abdominal cavity, take tissue samples, or sometimes perform minor surgeries.
Surgery for mesothelioma is often used in combination with other treatments like chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and newer treatments such as immunotherapy. It’s crucial to note that not all patients are suitable candidates for surgery due to factors like advanced disease stage, overall health, or presence of metastasis.
The goal of surgery in mesothelioma is often palliative, aiming to relieve symptoms, improve quality of life, and potentially extend survival. It’s important for patients to discuss treatment options thoroughly with their medical team, including oncologists, surgeons, and other specialists, to understand the potential benefits, risks, and expected outcomes of surgery in their specific case.