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Surgery for peritoneal mesothelioma

Peritoneal mesothelioma starts in the layers of tissue that cover the organs in the tummy (abdomen).

Some people can have surgery to try to remove the mesothelioma. It can't usually get rid of the mesothelioma for good. The aim is to try and keep the disease under control and help you to stay well for as long as possible.

You must be very fit and have early stage mesothelioma to have this treatment. It is very intensive.

Removing the lining of the abdomen (peritonectomy)

In this operation the surgeon removes the lining of the abdomen (peritoneum).

Debulking (cytoreductive surgery)

Some doctors use a technique called cytoreductive surgery, which also called debulking. They remove the whole peritoneum so the mesothelioma is removed as much as possible. 

This has worked well for some people. In some studies, about half of the patients treated in this way were still alive 5 years later.

During the operation, the surgeon gives chemotherapy straight into the abdominal cavity. Research has suggested that the chemotherapy works better if it is heated to a few degrees above body temperature. This is called hyperthermic intraoperative intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIIC).

The intraperitoneal chemotherapy may be repeated a few times after the surgery. 

Clinical trials

Your doctor might ask if you’d like to take part in a clinical trial. Doctors and researchers do trials to make existing treatments better and develop new treatments.

Last reviewed: 
07 Sep 2018
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    T Chua and others
    Canadian Journal of Surgery: 2009 Feb;52(1): pages 59-64

  • Principles and practice of oncology (10th edition)
    De Vita, V.T., Hellman, S. and Rosenberg S.A.
    Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, 2015

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    Tobias J and Hochhauser D
    Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2015

  • Mesothelioma
    W Weder
    Annals of Oncology, 2010. 21 (supplement 7), vii 326-vii333

  • Malignant mesothelioma
    R Rudd
    British Medical Bulletin, 2010. 93: pages 105-123

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