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Mesothelioma Patient Health Improves a Year After Surgery

Published: September 10, 2021

It could take time for mesothelioma patients to have better lung function after pleural mesothelioma surgery since some patients have better lung function a year after surgery compared to the days and weeks after the operation. Researchers in Japan published their findings in Integrative Cancer Therapies. There were 24 male patients with pleural mesothelioma tested who were all in their 60s and 70s. The men’s grip strength, knee extension strength, and how far they could walk in six minutes were all measured. They also had their lung function tested and all their results were compared to their own assessment of how they were doing. Researchers found that patients who underwent pleurectomy and decortication surgery can improve past the post-surgery phase of their treatment.

Pleural mesothelioma can make it hard to breathe because mesothelioma tumors grow on the membrane surrounding the lungs and fluid builds up in the same area. Since there is no cure for mesothelioma, surgery mixed with chemotherapy is typically people’s best option to live longer lives. Surgeons still debate which surgery is best for patients, but the patients in this study had the more conservative pleurectomy and decortication, which leaves the lungs in the body.

Doctors can use different techniques to determine how well patients respond to pleural mesothelioma treatment. In the study being discussed, the researchers used self-assessment. They had patients fill out a health assessment before receiving surgery, after surgery, and a year after surgery. They also measured the patients’ lung function and physical wellness by testing how much and how quickly patients could blow out air. The patients’ assessments of themselves matched with the doctor’s assessments. The researchers also found that the subjective and objective measurements of health improved the longer time passed after surgery.

The researchers concluded that pleurectomy and decortication surgery patients improved a year after surgery because the postoperative wellness values of patients were worse than the health values at the one-year mark. Mesothelioma patient survival is still bad, but if they survive a year after surgery, patients’ health values typically improved.

Takashi Tanaka et al., “Relationship Between Physical Function and Health Utility in Patients Undergoing Surgical Treatment for Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma” Integrative cancer Therapies (September 2, 2021). [Link]
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