Mesothelioma Surgery

Surgery is a common type of treatment for any type of cancer. It involves the total or partly removal of the tumor and/or other infected tissues. In the case of mesothelioma cancer, not everyone can qualify to have surgery since this depends on the age of the individual, his general health, the spread of the mesothelioma and other factors. It is also important to be clearly aware of the options available for treatment since if the patient decides on surgery this may deter him from qualifying for other types of treatment. In the case of mesothelioma cancer, surgery can be used either to try to cure the disease or for palliative care.

In order to qualify for the type of curative surgery, it is important that the patient to be in good health.  The physician has to assess the benefits and costs of any surgery since surgery may be very stressing on the body of the individual. In some cases individuals have also lost their life during or some time after surgery. Further more it is also important that the cancer is in its initial stage so that the cancer can be completely removed. Unfortunately mesothelioma is usually diagnosed in later stages where the cancer has usually already spread. Further more mesothelioma has a long latency period and so many mesothelioma patients are quite advanced in their age and their health is often far from its best.
Surgery can also be used for palliative reasons.  The aim of this type of surgery is not to try to cure the mesethelioma but to try as much as possible to relieve any discomfort of the patient. This type of surgery is usually offered to patients that are not in good health and when the cancer has spread beyond the mesothelium.

Thoracentesis can help the patient relieve some discomforts of mesothelioma. In the case of pleural mesothelioma it involves the removal of liquid from the chest of the patient by means of a needle. This procedure may help the patient breathe more easily. In the case of peritoneal mesothelioma and pericardial mesothelioma a needle may be inserted into the abdomen and into the pericardium respectively in order to drain the accumulated liquids in these areas.

Another palliative treatment for pleural mesothelioma is pleurectomy where it involves the removal of the pleura (the outside covering of the lung) in order to control the accumulated fluids. In the case of peritoneal mesothelioma and pericardial mesothelioma surgery can be performed in order to remove the affected mesothelium and the lining around the heart respectively.

Extrapleural pneumonectomy is a major operation that involves the removal of the lung, pleura, diaphragm and pericardium. All or a considerable part of the cancer may be removed by this operation. Extrapleural pneumonectomy together with chemotherapy and radiotherapy can increase the life of the patient. However not all mesothelioma patients qualify for this type of surgery. The patient must be in very good health and the mesothelioma should be localized and diagnosed early. This operation is performed in specialized medical centers with specialized surgeons. This is a very serious operation where in certain cases it can result in the death of the patient. Recovery time after the operation is also long.