Improving Survival Through Mesothelioma Surgery
When patients are diagnosed with mesothelioma, they require a specialized multimodality treatment plan, which may include surgery. Mesothelioma surgery can help extend a patient’s life and reduce painful symptoms.
During mesothelioma surgery, doctors remove the mesothelioma as best as possible, either fully or partially.
Your doctor will perform specific surgeries depending on your disease:
- Cell type
Surgeries can be risky, especially if the cancer has spread. Your doctor will help you determine if you are eligible for surgery, however, all patients are advised to seek a second opinion from a mesothelioma specialist before undergoing surgical treatment of any kind.
Mesothelioma Treatment Goals
A doctor may recommend surgical intervention to accomplish specific mesothelioma treatment goals.
Treatment goals may include:
- Eliminating mesothelioma completely from the chest, abdomen, or heart
- Removing as much of the visible tumors as possible
- Preventing recurrence (when cancer comes back after treatment)
- Improving the quality of life by relieving pressure from the chest, abdomen, or heart
It’s critical for patients to have a good understanding of the goals of each type of surgery so that they can play an active role in their own health decisions.
Who Is Eligible for Mesothelioma Surgery?
Not every patient will be eligible to undergo mesothelioma surgery.
Patients who have the following may not be eligible for mesothelioma surgery:
- Advanced age
- General poor health
- Other serious medical conditions (comorbidities)
- Smokers or former smokers
- Heavy drinkers
Provided they meet the right criteria, many patients will be recommended mesothelioma surgery. Surgery-based multimodal treatment typically gives patients the best shot at long-term survival.
Quick Facts About Mesothelioma Surgery
- Mesothelioma surgery can have serious risks and side effects, with roughly 1 in 3 patients having major complications during or after surgery.
- According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), a small number of people who have had curative mesothelioma surgery lived long periods of time without cancer.
- Some studies have suggested that mesothelioma surgery that removes a part of the lung is preferable to surgeries that remove an entire lung.