Whilst there is still no cure for mesothelioma, there are a number of treatments that can help give mesothelioma patients more time with their loved ones. One of the more extreme treatments is pleurectomy/decortication surgery. This is a major surgery in which the diaphragm, pericardical membrane around the heart and any other tissues that may host mesothelioma tumours, are removed.
There is a more radical surgical option, extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP), this involves a pleurectomy/decortication but one lung is also removed. This is a high risk surgery due to the risk of complications.
As you might expect, this kind of surgery takes its toll on patients and a recent study by the Hyogo College of Medicine in Japan has found that following this surgery patients may need additional assistance.
The study looked at 22 pleural mesothelioma patients who had undergone pleurectomy/decortication surgery between December 2013 and March 2015. The patients underwent a series of physical evaluations including a six minute walk, a knee strength test and a handgrip test. They also completed a health survey to assist their quality of life.
The results were not what patients might have hoped for. Handgrip strength, lung function and distance walked over the six minutes all decreased significantly. This highlights a need for additional therapy and rehabilitation after such extensive surgery.
The study did not mention how the surgery affects survival rate, the purpose of this kind of surgery is to prolong life expectancy and although the results of this study may be disappointing for those who have had or are considering the surgery, life expectancy must be considered in addition to these setbacks.
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