Mesothelioma is a deadly type of cancer that affects the lining, or pleura of the lung. When the cancer is diagnosed in its early stages, many patients who are in otherwise good health may be offered lung surgery as an option to improve their longevity and quality of life. The two most common surgeries have long been debated in research circles with one being declared the best in 2015. A new report is likely to add new fuel to the surgery debate.
The simplest way to understand the difference between the two surgeries is that one removes the entire lung and the other only parts of the lung.
Extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) involves removal of the diseased lung. This surgery ensures that the entire tumor is removed, but impacts quality of life. Without the lung, patients must limit physical activity. Although EPP has been found to extend lifespans up to 23 months, the surgery is not yet a curative measure.
Likewise, the pleurectomy/decortication or P/D is not yet considered a curative measure though early reports claim that live expectancy increases to 32 months after this surgery. The P/D surgery only removes the tumor, the pleura of the lung, diaphragm, and some surrounding tissues. This allows patients to be more physically active.
Researchers at the University of Zurich, Switzerland analyzed lung surgery cases over a 16-year period. Noting that surgery is seldom performed without additional treatments, they looked at patients who had received one of the surgical approaches along with multimodality treatments such as chemotherapy. To further eliminate variables, they matched patients by gender, stage of the cancer, histological subtype, and tumor location.
Although the team did find more post-surgical problems in those who had undergone EPP, they also noted that those who had opted for P/D experienced temporary air leak at a higher rate. Air leak happens when air escapes from pulmonary airspaces.
In comparing recurrence rates, the team found that regardless of the surgical procedure, patients experienced a return of the cancer on average between 13 and 15 months after, with P/D on the shorter side of the equation.
Finally, the team noted that initial findings seem to indicate what many have been claiming since 2015 regarding a longer life expectancy with P/D. However, Dr. Arthur Kostron, the lead researcher believes the data is incomplete. They also found that many of the P/D cases had been censored and lacked proper follow-up. He believes that although the data appears to support the findings that patients undergoing P/D can expect to live longer, there is a need to study a larger group for confirmation.
Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos which continues in debated use throughout the U.S. Without dispute, those responsible for the untimely loss of loved ones should be held accountable. If you or someone you love is a victim of this cancer, contact us online today or call 800-369-0899 to discuss your legal options with an experienced Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyer at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler. From our Philadelphia office, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.