One of the worst parts of malignant mesothelioma is the physical pain it brings. It is tragic that malignant mesothelioma cuts life short. The tragedy is compounded when severe physical pain interferes with daily living and prevents the full enjoyment of the time that remains. Mesothelioma pain is draining, distracting and just plain awful.
Now there is new evidence that a spinal procedure may provide pain relief for malignant mesothelioma patients. Called cordotomy, it is a surgical procedure that disables selected pain-conducting pathways in the spinal cord, in order to eliminate mesothelioma pain. This procedure is commonly performed on patients experiencing severe pain due to cancer or other diseases for which there is currently no cure.
“Cordotomy is especially indicated for pain due to asbestos-related cancers such as pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma,” states the Wikipedia entry about the procedure.
A new review study by scientists in the UK supports this statement with new evidence for the effectiveness of cordotomy in malignant mesothelioma cases.
Their new study was just published in the British Medical Journal Supportive & Palliative Care, an international journal that aims to improve supportive and palliative (pain relief) care for patients through research, evidence and innovation.
Claiming that theirs is the first study ever to review and analyze all the existing studies on cordotomy ever published, the researchers from North Wales Centre for Primary Care Research at Bangor University conducted a systematic review of all the medical literature on this topic.
They searched 14 databases and found nine cordotomy studies involving total of 160 mesothelioma patients that met their criteria.
“All studies demonstrated good mesothelioma pain relief in the majority of patients,” the researchers state in the results section of their published article.
Most patients experienced the greatest reduction in their mesothelioma pain immediately after surgery, the scientists found. Side effects including headache and weakness were common but went away quickly. None of the mesothelioma patients in any of the studies experienced more difficulty in breathing as a result of the cordotomy procedure and no patients died.
Although the researchers conclude that cordotomy seems safe and effective based on their analysis, they state that more evidence is needed to help in decision-making about the procedure.