A new photodynamic therapy for treatment of mesothelioma in patients exposed to asbestos has given researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine renewed hope in helping people diagnosed with this deadly disease. Not only does the therapy eliminate the need for drastic surgical procedures, but it is prolonging the survival rate for mesothelioma patients by more than two years. Currently, forty percent of mesothelioma patients die within 12 months of diagnosis, even with aggressive treatment. Photodynamic therapy increases the survival rate and enables surgeons to spare the lung by treating only the tissue containing the cancer cells.
Previous mesothelioma treatments involved major surgery to remove the entire lung and surrounding tissue, as well as aggressive chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Post-surgical complications and the often debilitating side effects of chemotherapy and radiation resulted in a high mortality rate for these patients. The side effects of photodynamic therapy have proven to be significantly less stressful and life-threatening for the patient. Sensitivity to light, temporary eye and skin disturbances, swelling, and scarring in the lungs are common side effects of photodynamic therapy, but are much less harmful than those associated with chemotherapy and radiation.
All victims of mesothelioma face a lifelong battle against this aggressive cancer. Despite vigorous, on-going treatment, the majority of patients will experience a return of the cancer. Photodynamic therapy combines a specialized drug with light energy to precisely target and destroy cancerous cells in the lung, leaving healthy tissue alone. This procedure prevents removal of the lung, which increases the quality of life for the mesothelioma patient and reduces post-surgical complications and death. With both lungs in tact, the patient can better endure future treatments that may be necessary. These benefits along with the increased survival rate for patients are convincing mesothelioma specialists to make photodynamic therapy the leading treatment for this type of cancer.
Researchers in the Penn Mesothelioma and Pleural Program (PMPP) at the University of Pennsylvania are very encouraged with the results of their recent study. Thirty-seven patients with advanced stages of mesothelioma underwent photodynamic therapy with overwhelming success. The study revealed that the average survival rate for these patients was 2.5 to 3.5 years, which is significantly greater than the 1 year survival rate with traditional treatment. While researchers and doctors agree that photodynamic therapy is not a cure for mesothelioma, they do acknowledge that it offers incredible options in the treatment of the disease.
The Philadelphia mesothelioma attorneys at the law firm of Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler specialize in seeking compensation and justice for victims of asbestos-related diseases in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We understand how devastating a diagnosis is, and how severe the financial impact can be on a family. Our asbestos attorneys have years of experience helping victims to successfully recover damages relating to pain and suffering, medical costs, and lost wages. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, call our Philadelphia mesothelioma attorneys at 800-369-0899 to discuss your options or submit a free online inquiry.