Malignant mesothelioma most often occurs in the thorax, which is defined as the area of the body protected by the rib cage, particularly the heart, lungs, and esophagus. The most common type of mesothelioma, pleural mesothelioma, occurs in the lungs. Pleural mesothelioma can spread quickly so, although there is no cure, doctors sometimes recommend surgery to remove the tumors, especially when the disease is caught early. In cases of pleural mesothelioma, this would be considered thoracic surgery.
Thoracic surgery is done by a surgeon who specializes in cancer, known as a surgical oncologist. A malignant mesothelioma victim’s primary care doctor, or in some cases the mesothelioma attorney representing them, will refer the patient to a respected colleague who works as a surgical oncologist, supported by a team of nurses, radiologists, and other specialists dedicated to the patient’s care before, during, and after surgery.
Thoracic surgery to remove tumors can often ease mesothelioma symptoms, especially in cases where the disease has invaded the chest wall or is causing difficulty breathing. However, malignant mesothelioma often reoccurs locally in the same place where the tumor was removed in the majority of patients. This is why thoracic surgery is typically combined with other treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
Usually, these additional treatments are not begun until after the surgery has been completed. This is because beginning radiation or chemotherapy treatments before thoracic surgery for mesothelioma can actually decrease the effectiveness of surgery in malignant mesothelioma victims, and in some cases can prevent the patient from receiving surgery due to a weakened condition or aggressive advancement of the disease.
For most patients, things will move quickly after a diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma. If surgery is an option, patients will have a consultation with their oncologist before the surgery is scheduled. During the consultation, the patient and his oncologist will usually discuss:
The oncologist will also describe what will happen during surgery. With mesothelioma, this most often involves removing all visible tumor(s) and some of the surrounding tissues. Any microscopic cancer cells remaining after surgery will usually be treated with chemotherapy or radiation treatments, referred to as adjuvant therapy. Combining surgery with continuing treatments for mesothelioma extends survival for most patients.
After the surgery, examples of the tissues removed as well as small samples taken from tissue left in the body will be sent to a lab to be examined. These examinations will help determine the progression of the disease and the prognosis for the patient; the resulting information is known as a pathology report. Usually, the first results from a pathology report will be received within a week, although the results may not yet be complete. It is important for patients to discuss what to expect with their physician.
With all of the medical expenses for effective treatment, malignant mesothelioma can be a financially taxing disease. Asbestos exposure is the primary cause of mesothelioma. Irresponsible manufacturing practices and a reluctance to inform those exposed of the dangers have led to incidences of malignant mesothelioma that could easily have been prevented if companies had been honest and taken measures to protect workers and the general public.
The companies that used asbestos are responsible for financially compensating those injured by their toxic products. Mesothelioma lawsuits are complex so its important to be represented by attorneys who specialize in asbestos law for quick and maximum recovery. Clapper Patti Schweizer & Mason (CPSM) have been exclusively practicing asbestos litigation for more than 30 years and are considered top experts in their field. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma and need help paying for surgery and treatment -