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Surgery for mesothelioma

On this page we cover the different types of surgery that are used to treat mesothelioma.

There’s a lot of medical debate about surgery to treat mesothelioma. Different approaches are taken in different countries around 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. Because of this, this surgery isn’t offered in the UK anymore.

A less extensive operation to remove as much tumour as possible, but to leave your lung behind is called an extended 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 it is being investigated in clinical trials.

Other treatments for mesothelioma:

Download our mesothelioma information (PDF, 166KB)

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Last medically reviewed: November 2020. Due for review: November 2023

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.