An analysis of mesothelioma patients who underwent cytoreductive surgery concludes that surgical treatment can improve the survival rate of a patient and should be the first choice for early treatment.

A study from the Annals of Surgical Oncology examined the survival rates of over 2000 peritoneal mesothelioma patients from 2003 to 2014. About 51% of patients did not have any kind of surgery to treat their cancer, while 34% received “radical” surgery according to the study. The patients who received surgery had an average survival rate of about 38.4 months compared to the non-surgery group which was 7.1 months.

Another group was made up of patients who received both radical surgery and chemotherapy. Those patients had a survival rate of about 41.8 months.

The results indicate a major improvement in prognosis. Before the year 2000, the average prognosis of patients with peritoneal mesothelioma was less than a year, according to the study.

The most recent study recommends that more doctors suggest surgery to a newly diagnosed patient to improve life-expectancy should he or she be fit enough to receive it.

Cytoreductive surgery is a lengthy process that involves surgeons inspecting each organ and removing any tumors. Generally, it is a curative treatment in the early stages of mesothelioma and palliative treatment in late stages to improve the quality of life in the terminal stage.

During some surgeries, treatment will also include hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy, a process where a doctor usually administers chemotherapy drugs directly into the peritoneum to kill cancer cells more. Using cytotoxic drugs post-operatively can prevent more tumors from forming afterward. Furthermore, the direct application of chemotherapy in high concentrations keeps systemic drug levels low, according to one study from the World Journal for Gastrointestinal Oncology.

Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy cannot penetrate tumors deeply so surgery is the best preliminary treatment, according to the study.

Cytoreductive surgery can be beneficial for patients who are fit and are in the early stages of peritoneal mesothelioma due to the intensity of the surgery. The procedure lasts about ten hours.

This study referenced another analysis from 2015 where more than 1000 mesothelioma patients were analyzed for their survival rate after surgery and chemotherapy. The results predicted an improved survival rate of about five years and an additional five years if the patient received both surgery and chemotherapy.

According to the report, peritoneal mesothelioma makes up one-fourth of mesothelioma cases worldwide and difficult to detect early. Therefore, cytoreductive surgery is usually a form of palliative treatment. However, the 2015 study did mention that the increase in cytoreductive surgeries with chemotherapy have led to a more-improved prognosis.

If you think you may have been exposed to asbestos at any point in your lifetime, then it is important to get frequent checkups for mesothelioma. Catching peritoneal mesothelioma early can make a major difference in prognosis. You can also talk to someone about receiving compensation for the medical bills.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma is still a difficult form of cancer to treat, but cytoreductive surgery can improve the quality of life for many patients and result in a substantially longer prognosis.

Read the full study here.

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