Often those suffering from malignant mesothelioma decline to undergo any form of surgical procedure. However, a study, conducted by a thoracic surgeon from Loyola Medicine, has found that mesothelioma patients who undergo surgery may gain improved quality of life, contrary to popular belief.  Often many mesothelioma patients avoid the surgery due to the fear that this will only result in a further degradation of their quality of life.

The operation, a pleurectomy and decortication (PD), is used to remove the pleura, the thin layer of tissue surrounding the lungs. This lining of the lung is where the malignant pleural mesothelioma develops. The tumour which grows within this lining causes a shortness of breath, discomfort, weight loss, fatigue and pain.  The removal of the pleura unfortunately cannot provide a cure for the mesothelioma, but what it has been able to do is to control the build up of fluid within the lung and, therefore, help with the patient’s breathing. It has also assisted in the management of the pain caused by the mesothelioma tumours.

The study presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology, provided patients with a quality of life survey following the procedure. Prior to the procedure the 114 patients completed a survey. The results showed that almost 70% of the participants were either only able to carry out light housework or office work or were able to look after themselves but were unable to work at all. The survey measured the symptoms of the mesothelioma sufferer, such as shortness of breath, difficulty of sleeping, fatigue and pain.

The study noted that following the first month after the surgery the patient’s quality of life was not affected in those patients who had previously confirmed that they struggled with light housework or were unable to work. Improved quality of life was observed in all patients in the follow-up surveys which were taken, in the first month, after 4 to 5 months, after 7 to 8 moths and at 10 to 11 months.

The conclusions, therefore, suggest that mesothelioma sufferers who elect to undergo a pleurectomy and decortication will face improved quality of life, and crucially patients will not experience any deleterious effects as a result of the surgery.

If you require assistance in pursuing a compensation claim for mesothelioma or other asbestos diseased then please contact us today on our Freephone number 0800 038 6767. Alternatively, head over to the ‘Contact Us’ page, complete the form and we will be in touch.

Source: Loyola University Health System

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