Are the most aggressive remedies for mesothelioma always best?

Mesothelioma is a devastating illness; there is no doubt about that. It is aggressive and requires aggressive treatments to help sufferers cope with the painful and serious symptoms. While there is no cure for mesothelioma, there are ways of extending a person’s life by slowing the progression of the illness.

Not surprisingly, these treatments can be very difficult for patients. They may require lengthy surgical procedures, chemotherapy sessions, radiation or a combination of all these solutions to get rid of the cancer cells or alleviate the symptoms. Research is constantly being done to measure how effective certain treatments can be, and recently a group of doctors explored the success rates of two different methods of treating mesothelioma to determine which of the two may be more successful.

Both procedures are intense: pleurectomy/decortication is the removal of several tissues that have been or could be affected by the cancer and extrapleural pneumonectomy is the removal of these same tissues in addition to the removal of a person’s lung.

Many patients undergoing these procedures also go through chemotherapy and radiation in an effort to shrink or eradicate cancerous tumors.

While both of the surgical procedures have the potential for extending a person’s life expectancy, researchers had questions about which of them may be more successful.

After looking into nearly 3,000 cases of patients undergoing one of the surgical procedures, researchers were able to determine that the patients who had the more aggressive surgery — the one that removed a lung along with the other affected tissues — had higher short-term mortality rates, meaning that more people who had a lung removed died shortly after the operation was performed.

While every case of mesothelioma must be treated individually, this recent study shows that the most aggressive treatment is not always the best treatment. It is imperative for patients to discuss their unique case with medical professionals.

In terms of medical treatment, it may be true that the most aggressive tactic is not always appropriate. In terms of legal action, however, aggression can be crucial to get the financial compensation victims and their families deserve. Money cannot truly compensate victims of mesothelioma, but it can be essential when it comes to pursuing the costly medical treatments that can add weeks, months or years to a person’s life.

Source: Surviving Mesothelioma, “Lung-Sparing Mesothelioma Surgery Results in Fewer Short-Term Deaths,” Alex Strauss, Dec. 29, 2014