Researchers and medical experts often compare pleural mesothelioma and peritoneal mesothelioma. One of the most striking differences? Prognosis, as peritoneal mesothelioma carries much better odds of prolonged survival.
Most peritoneal survival stories involve one consistency: aggressive surgery, which a recent study confirmed.
The Annals of Surgical Oncology published a report that includes analysis of peritoneal mesothelioma survival trends. The focus is on survival after aggressive, potentially life-saving surgery compared to survival without surgery.
The results showed a staggering yet unsurprising difference. It’s the strongest evidence in support of newly diagnosed peritoneal mesothelioma patients undergoing surgery right away.
What Is the Best Surgery for Peritoneal Mesothelioma?
The primary surgery for peritoneal mesothelioma is cytoreduction. This operation involves debulking, or physically removing all visible tumors from the disease area. Surgeons also perform a peritonectomy, which requires removing the thin lining where this cancer forms.
This lining, called the peritoneum, wraps around your abdominal cavity. It includes two walls of mesothelial cells. Their primary function is to protect essential cavities and organs in the abdomen. While helpful, this lining is not critical to continued good health or high quality of life.
Following cytoreduction, most peritoneal mesothelioma patients undergo hyperthermic (heated) intraperitoneal chemotherapy. This therapy, shortened to the acronym HIPEC, involves bathing the abdomen in warm liquid chemotherapy drugs. The treatment addresses remaining tumors in the abdomen and reduces the chances of mesothelioma recurrence.
Cytoreduction with HIPEC lasts 8-14 hours, depending on the extent of the cancer. Patients remain in inpatient care for 10-12 days following the procedure.
Improved Survival Rates After Surgery
From 2003-2014, the National Cancer Database registered 2,062 malignant peritoneal mesothelioma cases. The term “malignant” means the case is cancerous and actively spreading.
Of those 2,062 patients:
- More than half (51%) didn’t receive corrective surgery
- Around 34% did undergo surgery
- The patients who had surgery survived for a median of 38.4 months
- The non-surgical patients had a median survival of 7.1 months
Using systemic chemotherapy after cytoreduction with HIPEC improved the median mesothelioma survival to 41.8 months.
These statistics are not new revelations. For years, peritoneal mesothelioma specialists have vouched for cytoreduction with HIPEC. In an older study, around 55% of cytoreduction with HIPEC patients survived for at least three years.
Peritoneal Mesothelioma Survivor Stories After Surgery
Mesothelioma Guide has documented numerous survivor stories from peritoneal mesothelioma:
- Alexis K., diagnosed in 2007, some 13 years ago, underwent cytoreduction with HIPEC. She beat her initial prognosis of a few months.
- Jill L., diagnosed in 2010, is alive a decade later after undergoing cytoreduction with HIPEC for her peritoneal mesothelioma. She spoke highly of this therapy, saying that it “saved her life.”
As the stats show, others have survived peritoneal mesothelioma thanks to aggressive surgery. We at Mesothelioma Guide can refer you to other mesothelioma survival stories. If you have peritoneal mesothelioma, then we can help you become the next story of hope.
Reach out to our patient advocate and registered nurse, Jenna Campagna, to get a list of all cancer centers and doctors that perform peritoneal mesothelioma surgery. Please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org whenever you’re ready.
Show Sources & Author
- Predictors and Outcomes of Surgery in Peritoneal Mesothelioma: An Analysis of 2000 Patients From the National Cancer Database. Annals of Surgical Oncology. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32006127/. Accessed: 07/08/2020.
- HIPEC Surgery – What to Expect. Tufts Medical Center. Retrieved from: https://www.tuftsmedicalcenter.org/patient-care-services/departments-and-services/cancer-center/clinical-care-services/peritoneal-surface-malignancy-program/what-to-expect-after-hipec-surgery. Accessed: 07/08/2020.