Surgery for mesothelioma

There’s a lot of medical debate about surgery to treat mesothelioma. Different approaches are taken in different countries round the world.

An operation to remove the whole lung and pleural membrane is called an extra-pleural pneumonectomy. A study looking into this form of surgery found that surgery offers limited benefits and potentially causes harm. This surgery isn’t offered in the UK.

A less extensive operation to remove as much tumour as possible but to leave your lung behind is called a radical pleurectomy and decortication. Doctors are still trying to find out whether this procedure is beneficial. This surgery isn’t a standard treatment in the UK, but you may be offered it as part of a clinical trial. At the moment a UK study called MARS-2 is comparing the use of chemotherapy only with the use of chemotherapy plus radical pleurectomy and decortication.  

Sita’s husband, Calvin, was diagnosed with mesothelioma at 52. Read her story. 

Other treatments for mesothelioma:

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Last medically reviewed: November 2017. Due for review: November 2020

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.