Mesothelioma is a devastating disease, often not manifesting itself for many years following exposure to asbestos fibers. A particularly aggressive treatment for mesothelioma treatment extrapleural pneumonectomy (known as EPP). The surgery is quite complicated and serious, but, if successful, can offer significant benefits.
What does the Surgery Involve?
EPP involves the removal of as much of the cancerous material as possible, which includes a lung, as well as the lining around it, lymph nodes, diaphragm, and the heart lining. The surgery requires that the patient be placed under general anesthesia. Because one lung is removed, tests must be conducted prior to surgery to ensure that the remaining lung will be strong enough to take over all lung function. Additionally, it must be determined that the cancer has not spread to other parts of the body.
The surgery is only viable if the mesothelioma is diagnosed in its early stages, before it can spread to the lymph nodes or other organs. As a result, EPP is often not a treatment option because mesothelioma is usually not diagnosed until stage III or IV. “Staging” is a method of describing the severity or extent of the cancer, with a range between stage 0 and stage IV. At stage IV, the cancer has spread to other tissues or organs far in distance from the area it first developed.
What are the Benefits of Mesothelioma Treatment Extrapleural Pneumonectomy?
Undergoing EPP to treat mesothelioma may increase the person’s life span, in addition to improving their quality of life by making breathing easier. With additional treatment following EPP, such as chemotherapy or radiation, a person may live for several more years. Further, in some cases, the treatment may actually be curative.
Issues Related to Mesothelioma Treatment Extrapleural Pneumonectomy (EPP)
It is important to keep in mind that EPP is complicated and does pose potential risks. The most significant is a possible increased risk of death during or shortly after the surgery is completed as compared to traditional, more conventional surgery (pleurectomy/decortication). Further, there may be health complications following the surgery, including, but not limited to, internal bleeding, respiratory failure, and pneumonia. Another risk is that the surgery will either not cure the patient of the cancer or that the cancer will return.
Recovery from EPP is slow, taking a total time of approximately six to eight weeks. After surgery, the patient will likely have to remain in the hospital for two weeks for observation in case any complications arise. The total recovery time is lengthy because the remaining lung needs time to take over all lung functions.
Helping Mesothelioma Victims
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, obtaining the best possible treatment is critical. Because of this, it is likely you will have significant medical costs. At the Throneberry Law Group, we have the experience to help you obtain the resources you need to provide for your treatment. Contact us today and let us work for you.