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Study Shows That New Treatment Method May Dramatically Increase the Lifespan of Patients with Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

A study conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Maryland Medical System, the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the Penn-Presbyterian Medical Center, the University of Pennsylvania and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and published in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery showed that a new treatment method can significantly extend the lifespan of patients suffering from advanced cases of malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM).

Patients who underwent this new treatment method, which combines surgery that targets the cancer but saves the lung, photodynamic therapy and chemotherapy lived for an average of nearly three years – 35 months, to be precise and patients whose cancer had not yet reached their lymph nodes saw that figure nearly double to an average of 7.3 years. Patients suffering from this type of cancer who are only treated with chemotherapy have an average lifespan of 12 to 18 months.

“This is among the most virulent cancers known to man, and we have a long way to go, but it's encouraging to have achieved results we can report in years not months even for these patients with such advanced disease,” commented Joseph S. Friedberg, MD, the lead author of the study and the Charles Reid Edwards Professor of Surgery and Head of the Division of Thoracic Surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and Thoracic Surgeon-in-Chief of the University of Maryland Medical System. “Although, from a technical perspective, it is more challenging to save the lung than to sacrifice it, it does appear that this technique helps to not only extend life but to also preserve quality of life.”

You can read the full story, published on December 14 on ScienceDaily, here.

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