The American Cancer Society says different forms of surgery might be used to treat some forms of mesothelioma.
Major surgery might be needed to attempt a cure – or at least extend the patient’s life — if he or she is otherwise in good health and the tumor appears to be in only one place. In most cases, though, the cancer has spread to other places before it is found and surgery will only relieve symptoms.
Mesothelioma is a cancer of the mesothelium, which is the protective lining that covers many of the body’s internal organs. In the vast majority of cases, it’s caused by exposure to asbestos.
Surgery may be performed for the following types of mesothelioma:
Pleural mesothelioma, affecting the linings of the lungs.
- An extrapleural pneumonectomy, or EPP, is a complex operation that attempts to remove all or most of the cancer and some of the tissues around it, including the nearby lung. This is done only by surgeons in large medical centers, on patients in good overall health with good lung function and no other serious illnesses.
- A pleurectomy/decortication, or P/D, is a smaller operation may be done to try to cure some cancers, but it is more often used to relieve symptoms in cases where the whole tumor cannot be removed. For example, it may be used to control the build-up of fluid, improve breathing, or decrease pain.
- An even smaller surgery called debulking might be done to remove as much of the mesothelioma as possible.
Peritoneal mesothelioma, affecting the lining of the abdomen.
- Because these tumors are often too advanced to be removed completely, this surgery is usually performed to relieve or prevent symptoms. Debulking might be done to remove as much of the mesothelioma as possible. The omentum, an apron-like layer of fatty tissue that drapes over the contents of the abdomen, may also be removed.
Pericardial mesothelioma, or the sac around the heart.
- Operations can be done to remove a mesothelioma from the pericardium.
Surgery for mesothelioma of the tunica vaginalis testis.
- These mesotheliomas occur in the groin, and can’t be removed entirely. Surgery is usually done because the tumor is thought to be a hernia at first.
If you or a loved one have contracted mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure, contact Lopez McHugh for a free consultation.
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