Trying to increase mesothelioma survival remains a goal for scientific researchers in laboratories but also for the medical practitioners who work with mesothelioma patients whether in the examining room or the surgical operating room.
Everyone involved with this tragic disease wants to improve treatment options and expand mesothelioma survival to its fullest to help mesothelioma patients and their families enjoy every precious moment of life together that they can.
One mesothelioma treatment option that is believed to help prolong mesothelioma survival is surgery. The aim of mesothelioma surgery is to achieve longer mesothelioma survival than could be achieved with only chemotherapy.
Two thoracic surgeons from Glenfield Hospital in Leicester, England wanted to know more about the surgeries they were performing to increase mesothelioma survival. They studied the records of 252 mesothelioma patients who had undergone either the lung-sparing surgery called extended pleurectomy with decortication or lung-removing extrapleural pneumonectomy. To be included in the study, a patient had to have survived a minimum of 90 days. The surgeons defined long-term mesothelioma survival as 24 months or more.
Publishing their results in the European Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery, the surgeons reported no difference in outcome between the two types of surgeries. They did find other factors that made a difference. They came up with a list of four factors they say can be used to predict long-term survival in mesothelioma patients who undergo radical surgery:
- Being under age 60 at the time of the surgery
- Having the epithelioid variety of mesothelioma
- Had already had some level of chemotherapy
- No spread of cancer to the lymph nodes
“These results support a policy of accurate preoperative tissue diagnosis, nodal staging, and induction chemotherapy prior to radical surgery for malignant pleural mesothelioma, which can result in long-term survival. Trials investigating the role of surgery should be focused on confirming and refining these selection criteria,”  the researchers state in their conclusion.
You cannot control the type of mesothelioma you have, whether it has spread into your lymph nodes or your age at the time of surgery. Of the four predictive factors these two surgeons came up with, it seems the only one that is modifiable is having undergone some chemotherapy treatment before having surgery. Chemotherapy is something you can discuss with your physician.