Mesothelioma is a kind of cancer that spreads slowly over the years until it finally causes symptoms. Many victims do not know that they are ill until they are in the later stages of the disease.
While mesothelioma is fatal if left untreated, there are significant advances in medicine that can help stop the spread of the disease completely in some cases. One of those options is called an extrapleural pneumonectomy, or EPP.
This is a risky surgery, but it is one that can essentially cure a patient of pleural mesothelioma in the lungs. Here’s a little more about this life-saving surgery.
What is an extrapleural pneumonectomy?
The EPP is a surgery used commonly to treat pleural mesothelioma. It is not without risks, but it can greatly extend the life expectancy of someone with this disease.
During the EPP, a surgeon removes the affected lung and its protective lining. The surgeon may also be able to remove cancer that has spread to the lining of the lymph nodes, diaphragm and heart in some cases, depending on how far the mesothelioma has spread. The goal of the surgery is to remove as much of the mesothelioma as possible. If it is all removed, the chances of recurrence are low.
Can all patients have this surgery?
Healthy patients with well-functioning hearts and lungs are the best candidates for this surgery. The heart and single lung that remains have to take over the processes of the missing lung, putting a strain on the cardiovascular system, so a healthy individual will fair better. Finally, imaging tests need to show that the mesothelioma is only on one side of the patient’s body.
With the right treatment, it’s possible to save a person’s life. If you have mesothelioma, it may be a work-related injury that you can receive compensation for.