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Two Surgeries Dominate Mesothelioma Treatment

There are two main surgical options for patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma which depend on where the mesothelioma is found, the patient’s overall condition, and the disease stage.

Extrapleural Pneumonectomy (EPP) removes the diseased lung and parts of the pericardium, diaphragm, and parietal pleura. The second option is a Pleurectomy/decortication which removes the pleura, the membrane surrounding the lung, and the tumors growing inside the chest cavity.

Most physicians and surgeons who treat mesothelioma patients tend to favor one kind of surgery over another, and it now appears that the current trend is to spare the lung, even for patients who would have been referred for EPP a few years ago.  Those having the Pleurectomy surgery tend to have lower mortality rates and fewer complications than EPP, and new approaches in radiation therapy, provide more opportunities to study and treat mesothelioma patients with both lungs in place.

Some patients will benefit from palliative surgery that relieves painful or uncomfortable symptoms but will not necessarily halt the disease such as draining the fluid that collects around the lungs and causes discomfort and breathing problems.

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