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Study reveals more effective mesothelioma treatment method

A recent study has indicated that a new combination of less common mesothelioma treatment methods may more effectively increase the chances of survival of those who suffer from the deadly disease. According to researchers at the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, the new findings have the added bonus of reducing the need for surgical lung removal in mesothelioma patients, allowing patients to have more normal lives following their mesothelioma treatment while also removing some of the risk of surgery.

Mesothelioma is an aggressive and deadly form of cancer that is most commonly caused by exposure to asbestos. It may take between 10 to 50 years after exposure for the disease to develop, but once it does, patients generally only live for about a year following diagnosis.

The most common form of the disease is pleural mesothelioma, which makes up approximately 70 percent of all meso cases in Illinois and throughout the country. It originates in the membrane that surrounds the patient lung, which is called the pleura. Because of its location and the nature of the disease, it is often impossible to treat with surgery. Patients are generally subjected to a rigorous and aggressive cocktail of treatments, including surgery that removes the lung entirely, chemotherapy and radiation.

However, the new research has indicated that a new combination of treatments may be more effective than the radical lung removal surgery. According to the study, a surgery that removes the infected cells but spares the lung, in combination with photodynamic therapy (PDT), gave study participants a better rate of survival than those whose lungs were removed.

Researchers were not sure of the reason for the treatment's relative success, but say that their research is ongoing.

Source: Red Orbit, "Combination Therapy Shows Promise For Rare, Deadly Cancer Caused by Asbestos," 2 June 2011

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