Malignant mesothelioma is a rare and fatal form of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. Though the most common type of mesothelioma is pleural, in which mesothelioma’s cancerous tumors form in the lining of the chest cavity, the disease can also affect the abdominal cavity. This is known as malignant peritoneal mesothelioma. The two types of cancer have different treatment protocols, and peritoneal mesothelioma is frequently treated using a procedure known as HIPEC, in which patients first undergo a debunking surgery aimed at minimizing the size of their tumors and then a heated chemotherapy solution is poured into the open surgical site in order to kill any cancerous cells that may be left behind, but not every patient is a candidate for this procedure. Now a group of European physicians have devised a new way of delivering chemotherapy into the peritoneal lining, and the results of clinical trials have proven to be extremely encouraging.
The new mesothelioma procedure is known as PIPAC, which stands for Pressurized Intraperitoneal Aerosol Chemotherapy. It involves surgeons making a small incision in the patient’s abdomen through which a laparoscopic instrument can be inserted and an aerosolized version of the chemotherapy drugs can be delivered directly onto the tissue where the mesothelioma tumors exist. Studies have shown that when chemotherapy is delivered into tissues via pressurized aerosol, it penetrates the tissues more effectively, yet avoids the adverse side effects that are seen when the toxic drugs are delivered via injection or intravenously.
In tests that were conducted Germany, patients who had the PIPAC procedure showed significant improvements, with half showing histological regression of their tumors. When this success rate is combined with the additional benefit of easier tolerance for patients, it is hoped that this protocol will soon be introduced in the United States for the use of mesothelioma patients being treated in American cancer centers.
If you or someone you love needs information about the many resources available to mesothelioma patients and victims of asbestos exposure, contact us today at 1-800-966-2244 We are here to help.