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EPD Surgery for Mesothelioma May Actually Decrease Lung Function: Study

Early stage mesothelioma patients, who have yet to show symptoms of the deadly lung cancer, may actually experience a lower quality of life if they undergo surgery in an attempt to remove the cancerous tissue from their lungs, according to the findings of a new study. 

Researchers from the University of Chicago warn that a surgery known as extended pleurectomy with decortication (EPD) may actually worsen the health of mesothelioma patients, instead of improving it. The findings were released on March 28, ahead of print in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

EPD surgery is often conducted on patients with mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of lung cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. It involves the removal of the pleural lining of the lungs, hopefully taking mesothelioma tumors with it.

According to the findings of this new study, EPD surgery for mesothelioma appears to only be beneficial for those suffering from advanced stages of the disease, and appears to actually degrade the health and well-being of those with mesothelioma who have yet to exhibit health problems related to the illness.

Researchers surveyed 36 patients at four to five months and seven to eight months after EPD procedures. They found that patients at the earliest stages of mesothelioma showed decreased lung capacity, and other breathing problems after EPD procedures, while patients in more advanced stages of mesothelioma did not. In addition those patients appeared to benefit from the procedure.

The study concluded that mesothelioma EPD surgery should probably be saved for later stages of the disease.

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer, which is nearly always fatal, since it is often at a very advanced stage when a diagnosis is made, resulting in a very short life-expectancy.

Abestos lawsuits are the longest-running mass tort in U.S. history, with more than 600,000 people having filed a case against more than 6,000 defendants after being diagnosed with mesothelioma or other related injuries that were allegedly caused by inhaling asbestos fibers.

In addition to claims for workers exposed to asbestos in the course of her employment, in recent years there have been a growing number of secondary exposure mesothelioma cases have been brought on behalf of spouses, children and other family members alleging they developed the disease after breathing asbestos fibers brought home in the hair or on the clothing of individuals who worked directly with the material.

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