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Mesothelioma Treatment Through UPMC

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, known as UPMC, treats patients throughout Pennsylvania. UPMC’s mission is to “Serve our communities by providing outstanding patient care” and to “Shape tomorrow’s health system through clinical and technological innovation, research, and education.” Their values are quality and safety, dignity and respect, caring and listening, responsibility and integrity and excellence and innovation. At the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, the Mesothelioma Specialty Care Center treats patients who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is an extremely rare form of cancer. The only way to get mesothelioma is through exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a naturally occurring silicate material that is extremely harmful to inhale.

Patients who go to UPMC to get treated for mesothelioma are in good hands. There are experts in radiology, pulmonology, pathology, thoracic surgical oncology, pain management and medical and radiation oncology. At the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, treatments for mesothelioma may include chemotherapy or other medical oncology therapy, radiation oncology, surgery or clinical trials.

When it comes to surgery, the thoracic surgeons prefer to take a minimally invasive approach. The surgeon and care team explain surgical options to patients and talk about the risks and benefits of treatment, describe how the healing process works after the operation and recommend a procedure based on the type and stage of the cancer. Specifically for mesothelioma patients, surgeons are coming up with a chemoperfusion treatment that includes a pleurectomy for pleural mesothelioma. A pleurectomy is a form of surgery in which a part of the pleura, or the lining of the lung, is removed. Additionally, for pleural mesothelioma, a pneumonectomy may be utilized. This is a surgery that involves removing a portion or all of the lung. For peritoneal mesothelioma, surgery may involve a peritonectomy, which involves removing the cancerous part of the abdominal lining or a resection, which is a surgery that removes as much of the tumor as possible.

When it comes to chemotherapy, there are a full range of chemotherapy and biologic therapies available. Patients with pleural mesothelioma may be treated with hyperthermic chemoperfusion or HIPEC, which is when concentrated chemotherapy is given to a patient directly into the tumor. HIPEC is mostly used to treat patients with peritoneal mesothelioma and is usually used in combination with cytoreductive surgery (CRS). The aim of CRS is to remove all cancer nodules that are visible and the aim of HIPEC is to treat smaller cancer cells or microscopic cancer cells that may still be there after CRS. Utilizing HIPEC can also be beneficial because it produces fewer side effects than regularly administered chemotherapy given through the veins.

Radiation therapy is also an option at the Hillman Cancer Center. This may be utilized after surgery or in place of surgery if a patient is not eligible for surgery. Types or radiation administered include intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and 4D computed tomography (4D CT).  IMRT is an advanced form of radiation therapy, giving a radiation therapist the ability to lessen the harm done to nearby healthy tissue by sculpting the edges of a tumor. With this form of treatment, side effects are significantly lower than with standard radiation therapy. 4D CT captures the spot and the movement of the tumor as well as the movement of the body’s organs throughout time. The ability to do this is useful because it helps to treat tumors that are either on or near organs that relocate, like organs in the abdomen and the chest. The information from 4D CT scans is useful and beneficial. From this information, oncologists can reduce the risk of side effects, target tumors that are moving more easily, as well as administer radiation in an interval within the cycle of breathing. They can also design more spot-on treatments for tumors that are in motion. Using this type of radiation creates less of a chance for healthy tissue to be affected than with standard radiation therapy. Mesothelioma patients may also be able to participate in clinical trials through UPMC.

At the Halpern Law Firm, we are here to help those who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma. Do not hesitate to call us at 800-505-6000 for a free case evaluation. Our attorneys will fight tirelessly for you. Our goal is to get all of our clients the compensation they deserve.

Sources:

https://hillman.upmc.com/cancer-care/lung/types/mesothelioma

Written By Sadie Gold

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