Thoracic Surgeon Provides Heated Chemo, Hope for Veterans With Pleural Mesothelioma

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Good news has come out of Boston for veterans suffering from mesothelioma.  Thoracic surgeon Dr. Abraham Lebenthal recently performed the first intraoperative heated chemotherapy procedure for a VA patient with malignant pleural mesothelioma, a procedure that should aid in this hard-fought battle against this cancer.  As Lebenthal said in an interview, “[f]or some veterans, it could mean the difference between long-term survival or not.”

While some doctors have differing opinions as to this heated chemotherapy’s effectiveness, Dr. Lebenthal has been lobbying for its use in the VA system for many years. Roughly 1,000 veterans are diagnosed with mesothelioma every year due to the military’s heavy use of asbestos products in the 1900s.  Ideally, this chemotherapy will eliminate any remaining microscopic tumor cells that the surgeon was unable to remove as a result of their minimal visibility. Dr. Lebenthal is hopeful that more veterans with mesothelioma will now take advantage of this promising procedure.