Mesothelioma Symposium to Host Speaker Dr. Robert Cameron

Dr. Robert Cameron, chief of thoracic surgery at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center, will be leading an international symposium in May to promote awareness of a new surgery for mesothelioma patients. The Second Annual International Symposium on Lung-Sparing Therapies for Malignant Mesothelioma, held May 12 in Santa Monica, California, will gather mesothelioma experts from across the United States and South Africa to discuss alternative ways to treat mesothelioma that do not involve the removal of lungs. Among other things, the physicians at the symposium will discuss some early findings from Dr. Cameron's Pacific Meso Center, including the results of such projects as the establishment of an international mesothelioma tissue bank and speculation on drugs for the prevention of mesothelioma. The symposium is open to anyone with an interest in learning more about mesothelioma, including doctors, nurses, medical students, and mesothelioma patients and their families. Dr. Cameron has long believed that his fellow surgeons are too quick to perform extrapleural pleurectomy surgery on mesothelioma patients. Extrapleural pleurectomy, or EPP, is a radical and dangerous surgery that involves removing parts of the lungs, the diaphragm, and tissue around the heart and lungs. While has seen success in removing a majority of the cancerous cells from the body, it is an extreme strain on the patient's body and can be too hard for patients already weakened by mesothelioma to recover from. Instead, Dr. Cameron recommends an alternative technique called pleurectomy/decortication. Pleurectomy/decortication surgery involves partly or completely removing the sheath of tissue that surrounds the lungs -- the pleura -- in order to remove the tumors caused by mesothelioma. This technique allows the patient to keep both lungs, and has been shown to have better outcomes than other aggressive forms of mesothelioma treatment. Patients who have P/D surgery tend to live longer and suffer fewer complications following the surgery. However, P/D surgery is not for every mesothelioma patient. If the patient is already in poor health, if the disease has gone a long time without being detected, or if the tumors have spread to the lungs, then P/D surgery is unlikely to help. This surgery is currently only available for certain patients with pleural mesothelioma, other types such as peritoneal and pericardial mesothelioma will not benefit from this surgery, as they involve the lining of additional organs. Reference:
  • AP Staff Writer. (February 21, 2012). “Mesothelioma Experts to Meet for 2nd International Symposium on Lung-Sparing Therapies for Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma May 12th.” Retrieved on February 29, 2012, from In The Associated Press.
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