Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is very difficult to treat. However, if found early enough, surgical treatment of the asbestos cancer tumor may allow for the complete removal of mesothelioma cells found in the body. However, mesothelioma can easilyFAQ on Surgical Treatment of Mesothelioma spread from the chest wall or abdomen to other parts of the body. If not localized, then complete surgical removal is often difficult.
Regardless of curative potential, surgery can dramatically prolong the survival rate of patients in some cases. It may also be used purely for palliative reasons (to reduce painful symptoms caused by the illness). If you are facing a possible mesothelioma surgery, then you likely have a lot of questions. The most frequently asked questions about the surgical treatment of mesothelioma are listed below:
Who does the surgery?
Mesothelioma surgery is considered invasive, and involves careful attention to several critical internal organs. For these reasons, only experienced surgeons are authorized to perform such procedures. More than likely, your surgeon will have direct experience with removing mesothelioma tumors. However, in smaller, more rural areas, direct surgeon experience may be limited. Oftentimes, doctors and oncologists suggest that these patients travel to larger cancer treatment centers to ensure top-notch care.
Where does the surgery take place?
Mesothelioma surgery takes place in an operating room at the hospital. This is due to the complexity of the surgery and the need for advanced medical technology to be on hand. Additionally, depending on how extensive your surgical procedure is, the recovery process following surgery may be difficult. This may require you to stay in the hospital following surgery to be monitored by an experienced medical staff. This post-surgery recovery may last from a few days to a few weeks.
How long does mesothelioma surgery take?
Mesothelioma surgery varies dramatically depending on how much tissue the surgeon needs to remove. However, treatment can often take several hours. The most common surgical procedures associated with mesothelioma are extrapleural pneumonectomy and pleurectomy. An extrapleural pneumonectomy is the most extensive and time-consuming type of mesothelioma surgery, and involves the removal of pleura cells lining the walls of the chest, diaphragm and pericardium. Pleurectomy is a more localized version of an extrapleural pneumonectomy, and therefore takes less time to complete.
Am I under anesthesia?
Yes, mesothelioma patients are placed under anesthesia for the duration of the surgery.
Do they do a second surgery?
Follow-up surgeries for mesothelioma are not uncommon, particularly when treating peritoneal mesothelioma. Following initial surgery, a second surgery may allow surgeons to monitor the return or progression of the cancer tumor. Additional tissue may be removed if necessary. In between surgical procedures, chemotherapy may be prescribed in an attempt to slow or halt the progression of cancer.
Will I be in pain after mesothelioma surgery?
Pain and discomfort are common following a mesothelioma surgery. However, painkillers and other management techniques will be prescribed to help alleviate any pain you may have. Additionally, a local chest anesthetic known as an epidural may be administered as well. Pain may last from a few weeks to a few months. In some cases, pain from the surgery is a long-term symptom that must be managed through pain medication and other treatment aids.