How Talc Pleurodesis Helps Pleural Mesothelioma Patients

There are two primary surgeries for pleural mesothelioma patients: extrapleural pneumonectomy and pleurectomy with decortication.

Some mesothelioma experts suggest a third: talc pleurodesis.

Talc pleurodesis is a low-invasive procedure and could improve the quality of life and survival time for late-stage pleural mesothelioma patients. The operation manages a primary pleural mesothelioma symptom and reduces pain.

What Is Talc Pleurodesis?

Pleural mesothelioma develops in the pleura, which is a thin membrane separating the chest wall and lung cavity. When the rare cancer forms, the presence of tumors causes fluid to build up in the pleura. This fluid buildup is called “pleural effusions” and puts pressure on the chest wall, which can cause chest pain and shortness of breath for the patient.

There are numerous fixes for pleural effusions, but a pleurodesis is a potential permanent one. The operation removes the fluid from the patient’s pleura, which allows the lungs to move normally and the patient to breathe without irritation. The surgery also involves sealing the pleural cavity to prevent future effusions.

To seal the space, doctors inject non-asbestos talc directly into the pleural space. The talc irritates the pleura causing an inflammatory response which then fuses together the layers of the pleura.

Comparing Talc Pleurodesis and Other Pleural Mesothelioma Surgeries

A study published in the Journal of Thoracic Disease showed the long-term benefits of talc pleurodesis. The research team, which included esteemed pleural mesothelioma specialist Dr. Raja Flores, found that the overall survival rate for patients who underwent this operation was 14 months.

Patients who undergo more-invasive pleural mesothelioma surgeries may survive longer but deal with greater risks. The study reported that patients who underwent extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) and pleurectomy with decortication (P/D) had average survival rates of 21 months and 17 months, respectively.

Since talc pleurodesis is far less invasive than EPP or P/D, there is often a greater chance of success and fewer complications associated with the operation. A study published on UpToDate cited a study showing that talc pleurodesis has at least a 90% success rate. Success is defined as “fully expanded lung at the end of the procedure and no recurrence of the effusion at long-term follow up,” according to the study.

Therefore, quality of life could be better for patients undergoing talc pleurodesis.

Comparing Talc Pleurodesis and Chemotherapy

Most late-stage pleural mesothelioma patients aren’t candidates for either EPP or P/D. Many of them only receive chemotherapy for treatment. However, talc pleurodesis could benefit them.

According to a study in the Journal of Thoracic Disease, patients whose only treatment is chemotherapy survive for an average of 12 months. So talc pleurodesis has a longer average life expectancy. Considering the uncomfortable side effects associated with chemotherapy, undergoing a talc pleurodesis also could be better for quality of life.

While palliative treatments like talc pleurodesis are beneficial, patients need to seek the best possible medical care when undergoing any operation. Our patient advocate team connects patients to mesothelioma specialists who can effectively perform the surgery best suited for their disease.

If you’re a newly diagnosed pleural mesothelioma patient — with either an early stage cancer or late-stage disease — contact registered nurse Jenna Campagna by email at jenna@mesotheliomaguide.com. She’ll help you find a specialist to treat your cancer, prolong your life and increase your quality of life.

Devin Golden

Devin Golden is the content writer for Mesothelioma Guide. He produces mesothelioma-related content on various mediums, including the Mesothelioma Guide website and social media channels. Devin's objective is to translate complex information regarding mesothelioma into informative, easily absorbable content to help patients and their loved ones.

Share
    Published by
    Devin Golden

    Recent Posts

    Can You Identify Each Mesothelioma Cell Type?

    Mesothelioma is a challenging disease to understand. The cancer is rare, largely unheard of, and doesn’t form on any well-known…

    18 hours ago

    Can You Have Both Pleural Mesothelioma and Peritoneal Mesothelioma?

    Almost all mesothelioma cases start in one of two areas: the pleura or the peritoneum. Hence, the two most common…

    2 days ago

    9/11-Related Mesothelioma Deaths Have Started

    In the aftermath of 9/11, medical experts worried about the long-term health ramifications. The people in lower Manhattan that day…

    1 week ago

    Lung Cancer Awareness Month: 10 Facts About Asbestos Lung Cancer

    Asbestos is a carcinogen linked to numerous diseases. If you’ve visited our website before, then you likely know the mineral…

    1 week ago

    Proton Radiation Surging as a Mesothelioma Treatment

    Experts continue exploring new treatment options for mesothelioma patients. Some ideas aren’t brand new but are tweaks to current forms…

    1 week ago

    Linking Automobile Work to Mesothelioma

    Have you ever thought of automobile brakes as a source of asbestos exposure and occupation linked to mesothelioma? If not,…

    2 weeks ago