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Surgery an option for some with mesothelioma

When doctors give patients diagnoses of malignant pleural mesothelioma, there is little good news associated with the disease. Yet one statistical model may potentially predict the patients who are could benefit the most from surgical intervention.

Factors that influence patients' life expectancy post-surgery include:

-- Youth

-- Little lymph node involvement

-- Epithelioid histology

-- Negative history of asbestos exposure

Presently, no cures are available for those suffering from mesothelioma in the advanced stages. There is only a 10 percent rate of five-year survival after diagnosis.

According to one Italian doctor from Rome, "clinico-surgical factors . . . can indicate which patients will benefit the most from surgery." This allows patients and oncologists to determine the optimal therapeutic course for the disease.

He and his colleagues followed 468 patients who underwent a surgical treatment known as extrapleural pneumonectomy. EPP excises a lung, affected areas of the lining of the chest and heart, and the diaphragm. Prior research indicated on average a 10-month rate of survival for EPP patients.

But this study revealed that 107 EPP patients, or nearly 23 percent, survived three or more years post-surgery. The findings from this research allowed a scoring system to be developed to assist oncologists with predicting the outcome of treatments. Also, post-op treatments can be more closely tailored to benefit patients the most.

Mesothelioma continues to be a deadly disease that greatly foreshortens the lives of those who suffer from it. Seeking financial compensation from the companies that caused these workplace asbestos exposures is one way to pursue justice for those living with mesothelioma.

Source: EurekAlert, "Statistical model may identify patients who can benefit from surgery for mesothelioma," accessed May 13, 2016

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