MesoVATS Can Improve Symptoms But Not Survival

Mesothelioma lawyers in Boston know that mesothelioma is one of the most difficult cancers to cure, with a very low five-year survival rate. Research is continually being done to try to help mesothelioma victims, many of whom are sick because they were exposed to asbestos on the job or through the use of products with dangerous silicate fibers. chest-xray-262068-m.jpg

One recent clinical trial has provided some important information on a surgery that may be a method of treatment for mesothelioma patients. The surgery is called video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS).

Clinical Trial Studies the Effect of MesoVATS Surgery

MesoVATS is a partial pleurectomy offered as an alternative to the traditional mesothelioma treatment, talc pleurodesis. Talc pleurodesis involves the insertion of a tube into the lining cavity in the lungs in order to remove fluid that has accumulated. This allows the lung to re-inflate. Talc is then inserted in order to encourage the lining to stick together.

MesoVATS surgery, on the other hand, involves removal of as much of the tumor as possible, both in the lining of the lungs as well as outside of the lungs. Full removal of the tumor is not always possible.

Previous studies have been performed on the use of MesoVATS surgery on patients afflicted with mesothelioma, and the past non-randomized studies have suggested that survival may be improved when compared with historical survival data on patients treated with talc pleurodesis.

Medscape, however, indicates that new research presented at the 15th World Conference on Lung Cancer suggests that the MesoVATS surgery doesn’t actually improve survival outcomes. The new research is one of the few randomized phase-three trials ever to be conducted on mesothelioma patients. The patients in the study all had advanced cases of mesothelioma. Their average age was 65, they were all male and they were well matched between the groups who underwent MesoVATS surgery and those who received traditional treatment with talc pleurodesis.

A total of 196 patients were observed in the randomized clinical trials conducted over a 10 year period of time. Unfortunately, patients in the MesoVATS group did not have better survival outcomes than patients treated with talc pleurodesis. Patients in both groups lived for around 12 months, and the one year survival rate was 57 percent for the talc group and 52 percent in the group of patients who received the MesoVATS surgery.

While this outcome is disappointing for patients with mesothelioma, which has an average survival rating of between nine and 12 months, there was some good news. Patients who underwent the MesoVATS procedure had better early control of effusion and fewer mesothelioma symptoms. There were slightly more adverse events, and slightly higher costs associated with the MesoVATs treatment, but the researchers overall concluded that the procedure provided better quality of life.

Patients who are concerned about the added financial costs of MesoVATS should be aware that they may be able to obtain compensation for medical bills and losses from those responsible for their exposure to asbestos. Patients should not have to forego a treatment that could potentially improve their quality of life in their last months because of financial worries about treatment cost.

If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.

More Blog Entries:

Copper Stores May Help in Fight Against Mesothelioma, Mesothelioma Lawyers Blog, October 22, 2013.

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