Difference Between Resectable & Unresectable Mesothelioma

While the TNM system is used to group mesotheliomas into different stages that assist doctors to have an idea about the mesothelioma prognosis or outlook of the patient, for treatment purposes, a simpler system is used by doctors that is based on whether the cancer can be resectable – meaning all visible tumor could be removed through surgery or unresectable – meaning that visible tumor isn’t possible to be surgically removed.

Generally speaking, a majority of stage I and II of mesotheliomas, and possibly some stage III mesotheliomas could be resectable, though there may be some exceptions. The ability of the doctors to remove the cancer surgically depends on how far it has grown, its subtype, where it’s located, and the suitability of the patient to undergo surgery. Most of the doctors feel that only subtypes of mesothelioma involving mixed or biphasic tumors and epithelioid tumors can potentially be resectable.

Having said that, even with possibly resectable mesotheliomas, if there are cancer cells that cannot be seen, they will mostly be left behind after having the surgery. This is the reason why doctor still use other treatment options such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy alongside surgery1. Chemotherapy drugs are applied to help in shrinking the tumor as well as slowing down its spread. Usually, the drugs are administered before, during, and after a surgery. At times, you find that the only treatment that is available is chemotherapy. The mostly effective mesothelioma chemotherapy drugs include gemcitabine, carboplatin, cisplatin, and pemetrexed1

References:

  1. What Are the Most Common Mesothelioma Symptoms? https://www.asbestos.com/mesothelioma/symptoms.php

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