A pair of recent studies suggest that a certain treatment may be able to help treat mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of cancer that often affects the thin lining of tissue surrounding the lungs, but may also affect other parts of the body. The treatment, called talc pleurodesis, is a surgical procedure to help prevent pleural effusions, which is when fluid builds around the lungs, making it hard for the patient to breathe and allow the disease to spread.
In a recent study published by the Journal of Thoracic Disease, researchers found that the procedure improves survival rates of patients better than some other lung fluid treatments. The results further suggest that the treatment, which is less invasive than others, may be a better quality of life option than more aggressive surgery to remove tumors surrounding the lungs.
The study, conducted by Dr. Emanuela Taioli of the Institute of Translational Epidemiology at Ichan, examined almost 50 other studies focused on the survival rates of patients who underwent talc pleurodesis compared to those who underwent surgery. Research showed that on average, the survival rate of patients treated with talc pleurodesis was 14 months, compared to 17 months for those who underwent invasive surgery, like pleurectomy and decortication, and 24 months for even more aggressive surgeries like extrapleural pneumonectomy.