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New mesothelioma treatment offers hope

A new treatment is being used on pleural mesothelioma at the University of California, Los Angeles: cryoblation. Cryoblation, also known as cryosurgery, uses extreme cold to treat tumors. The microsurgery technique has been around for a long time, but this is the first it has been used to treat mesothelioma.

Pleural mesothelioma is highly resistant to conventional cancer therapies, but doctors say they are finding success with cryoblation. Pleural mesothelioma grows on the membrane lining that goes around the lungs. When treated like other types of cancer, with radiation or chemotherapy, mesothelioma reacts to the treatments in unpredictable ways, and it often comes back after being treated.

Another problem with mesothelioma is the fact that the tumors are located next to important organs -- like the lungs -- which makes them dangerous to remove. Many cancer centers have avoided using cryoblation to treat mesothelioma because they don't want to hurt the lungs. However, UCLA has been having success.

Twenty-four patients have received 110 cryoblations to treat recurrent mesothelioma. The recurrence rates after treatment have been promising and surgeons are pleased with the results.

After one year, 87.3 percent of patients did not have a recurrence. After three years, 73.7 percent did not have a recurrence. Considering that patients diagnosed with mesothelioma usually die within one year of treatment, the results have doctors excited for the future of cryoblation's application in this regard.

Treating mesothelioma is not only difficult, but expensive. Most Pennsylvania residents suffering from the condition will be able to trace it back to some kind of employment in the past. If the disease can be connected to an employer covered by workers' compensation insurance, the injured worker may be able to seek workers' compensation benefits to pay for his or her treatments.

Source: Survivingmesothelioma.com, "Innovative Mesothelioma Treatment Uses Cold to Destroy Tumors," Alex Strauss, Dec. 18, 2016

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