Dr. Joseph Friedberg’s innovative treatment methods give mesothelioma patients hope, and in some cases, he’s been able to double their survival time. Dr. Friedberg has been treating pleural mesothelioma patients for over 10 years. He is dedicated to perfecting the lung sparing surgery, pleurectomy with decortication (P/D), and combining it with innovative treatments.

Giving Hope to the Chronigers

Jim Chroniger thought he only had 8 months to live. He was diagnosed with the incurable cancer, mesothelioma. Jim and his wife traveled to the University of Maryland Medical Center to see pleural mesothelioma specialist, Dr. Joseph Friedberg.

Innovative Treatments for Mesothelioma

  • Pleurectomy with Decortication (P/D)

    Pleurectomy with decortication (P/D) is a surgery that removes the diseased lining of a patient’s lung along with any other visible tumors in the chest, sparing the lung itself. It is a less radical mesothelioma treatment than the extrapleural pneumonectomy, a surgery that involves removing a whole lung.

    Many doctors, like Dr. Friedberg, are choosing to perform the P/D because a patient’s quality of life is better with two lungs. Some doctors choose P/D even with later stage mesothelioma because they can combine it with intraoperative photodynamic therapy (PDT).

  • Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)

    Photodynamic therapy uses a laser light to activate a light-sensitive drug, that targets and kill cancer cells. This type of drug is called a photosensitizer and it becomes activated when light is applied to the tumor area. This treatment has few side effects because mesothelioma cells tend to absorb much more of the photosensitizer than healthy cells.

    Dr. Friedberg reminds patients that surgery plus PDT is not the standard treatment for mesothelioma, it is investigational. Chemotherapy is the standard treatment. He believes combining surgery, PDT, and chemotherapy offers patients a better prognosis.

Extending Life Expectancy with Multimodal Treatment

Dr. Friedberg recently reported positive outcomes using multimodal therapy for late stage pleural mesothelioma patients with epithelioid cell type. From 2005-2013, 73 patients underwent P/D with intraoperative photodynamic therapy and 92% included adjuvant pemetrexed-based (Alimta) chemotherapy. All patients had complete removal of their mesothelioma.

  • Patients with regional lymph node involvement had a 3 year disease-free survival rate
  • Patients without lymph node metastases had a 7.3 year disease-free survival rate

Past results showed patients who underwent P/D only had a median survival range from 8.1 to 32 months. Evidence proves multimodal treatment has given mesothelioma patients an extended prognosis.

“It is our expectation that, yes, we will get you more time,” Dr. Friedberg stated.

Nurse JennaThese results have also demonstrated that specialists can perform the pleurectomy with decortication with success on late stage pleural mesothelioma patients.

If you or your loved need to get connected to a mesothelioma specialist, do not hesitate to contact our nurse directly at 888-385-2024 x 102 or karen@mesotheliomaguide.com.

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    Sources & Author

  1. New study may give mesothelioma patients more time. WBALTV11. Retrieved from: http://www.wbaltv.com/. Accessed: 02/08/17.
  2. Extended Pleurectomy-Decortication-Based Treatment for Advanced Stage Epithelial Mesothelioma Yielding a Median Survival of Nearly Three Years. The Society of Thoracic Surgeons. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27825687. Accessed: 02/08/17.
  3. Surgical Management of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma: Impact of Surgery on Survival and Quality of Life—Relation to Chemotherapy, Radiotherapy, and Alternative Therapies. International Scholarly Research Notices. Retrieved from: https://www.hindawi.com. Accessed: 02/10/17.
Picture of Jenna Campagna, RN

About the Writer, Jenna Campagna, RN

Jenna Campagna is a registered nurse and patient advocate who is passionate about helping mesothelioma patients navigate their health care. She has over seven years of experience working with patients diagnosed with rare diseases including mesothelioma. Jenna is also a member of the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators and her goal is to connect patients to top mesothelioma specialists, treatment facilities, and clinical trials. Through her writing, she aims to simplify the complicated journey through mesothelioma by offering helpful tips and advice.