Mesothelioma surgery is a treatment option for individuals diagnosed with mesothelioma, a type of cancer that typically affects the lining of the lungs (pleural mesothelioma), although it can also occur in the lining of the abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma), heart, or testicles (rare). Surgery aims to remove cancerous tissue, alleviate symptoms, and potentially improve a patient’s prognosis.
There are different types of surgeries used to treat mesothelioma, depending on various factors like the stage of cancer, the location, the patient’s overall health, and the extent of the disease. Some common surgical procedures for mesothelioma include:
- Extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP): This extensive surgery involves removing the affected lung, part of the diaphragm, the lining of the heart, and nearby lymph nodes. It’s typically used for pleural mesothelioma in its early stages.
- Pleurectomy/Decortication (P/D): This procedure involves removing the lining of the affected lung (pleurectomy) along with any visible tumors (decortication) while preserving the lung. It’s often considered for patients with early-stage pleural mesothelioma or those who may not be suitable candidates for an EPP.
- Cytoreductive surgery (CRS) with heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC): For peritoneal mesothelioma, CRS involves removing visible tumors in the abdomen followed by HIPEC, which delivers heated chemotherapy directly into the abdominal cavity to kill any remaining cancer cells.
- Pericardiectomy: This surgery removes part or most of the lining around the heart (pericardium) in cases where mesothelioma has affected this area.
Surgery for mesothelioma is often used in combination with other treatments like chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and sometimes immunotherapy to maximize its effectiveness. The goal is to improve the patient’s quality of life, alleviate symptoms, and potentially prolong survival.
However, not all mesothelioma patients are suitable candidates for surgery, and the decision to undergo surgery depends on various factors, including the stage of cancer, overall health, and the patient’s preferences. Additionally, surgeries for mesothelioma can be complex and may carry significant risks, including complications and a lengthy recovery period.
Patients diagnosed with mesothelioma should consult with a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals, including oncologists, surgeons, and other specialists, to determine the most appropriate treatment plan tailored to their individual circumstances.