Potentially Curative Procedures for Mesothelioma
These procedures are performed with "curative intent". Their goal is removal of all gross disease, with the knowledge that microscopic disease will most likely remain. Adjuvant therapy (another form of treatment in addition to the primary therapy) is typically aimed at eliminating residual disease.
For Pleural Mesothelioma:
* Pleurectomy/Decortication is usually performed on patients with early stage disease (Stage I and selected Stage II), and attempts to remove all gross tumor. If it is found that all tumor can not be removed without removing the lung, this may be done at the same time and is called pneumonectomy.
* Extrapleural Pneumonectomy is considerably more radical than other surgical approaches, and should be carried out by surgeons with great expertise in evaluating patients and performing the procedure itself. (See Finding Specialists.) Because in the past surgery alone has failed to effect a cure, or even to help prolong life for any extended period of time, it is currently being combined with traditional chemotherapy and/or radiation, or other new approaches such as gene therapy, immunotherapy or photodynamic therapy.
General Patient Selection Criteria for Extrapleural Pneumonectomy
Extrapleural pneumonectomy is a serious operation, and doctors experienced in this procedure choose their patients carefully. It is up to each individual surgeon to advise the patient on its feasibility and to conduct whatever tests he/she feel are necessary to optimize the patient's chances for survival and recovery. Following is a general list of patient selection criteria. This list may not be all inclusive, and may vary according to the preference of the surgeon.
o Karnofsky Performance Status score of >70. This score relates to what symptoms of disease the patient may be experiencing and how well they are able to conduct their daily activities. Some surgeons may require a higher performance status than others.
o Adequate renal (kidney) and liver function tests; no significant kidney or liver disease.
o Normal cardiac function per electrocardiogram and echocardiography.
o Adequate pulmonary function to tolerate the surgery.
o Disease limited to the ipsilateral hemithorax (the same side of the chest in which the
mesothelioma is located) with no penetration of the diaphragm, extension to the heart or extensive involvement of the chest wall.
o Age of the patient is taken into consideration, but may not be as important as their overall status.
Surgeries of this nature should always be done with a complete understanding of the possible benefits and risks involved. If you are considering surgery as a treatment option, speak openly with your doctor about your concerns, and be sure all of your questions are answered to your satisfaction.
For Peritoneal Mesothelioma:
* Cytoreductive Surgery is aimed at removing all or nearly all of the gross or visible tumor in the peritoneal cavity. In order to treat any remaining cancer cells, Intra-Peritoneal Hyperthermic (heated) Chemotherapy (IPHC) is then delivered to the abdominal cavity. The type of chemotherapy drug used may vary according to the physician’s preference. Click here for more on treatment of peritoneal mesothelioma.