Pleurodesis is a surgical procedure that may be recommended for a patient who is diagnosed with cancer that spreads to the lining (pleura) around the lung that results in the buildup of fluid in the chest. The cancer that involves the pleura may arise from either a primary lung cancer, a primary cancer of the pleura such as mesothelioma, or it may have spread from a cancer arising outside of the chest such as breast or ovarian cancer. When a large amount of fluids begins to fill up the chest cavity, it causes progressive collapse of that lung and worsening shortness of breath. Unlike most other surgery for cancer, a pleurodesis is not performed to remove cancerous cells from the body, but rather to prevent the buildup of fluid in the chest so that the lung remains inflated long term.
Each lung is surrounded by a thin protective lining called the pleura. Tumors that spread to the pleura can cause excess fluid (pleural effusion) to accumulate in the chest cavity, causing pain, coughing and shortness of breath. While it’s possible to drain the fluid each time it accumulates, it’s often more effective to perform a small surgical procedure to prevent pleural effusions from occurring by surgically causing the lung to become adherent to the chest wall. By eliminating the potential space between the lung and the pleura where fluid can accumulate, it may be possible to alleviate a patient’s symptoms and improve his or her quality of life.
At Moffitt Cancer Center, patients who elect to have a pleurodesis are able to work with surgeons who focus exclusively on treating chest cancers. We are home to one of the nation’s top lung cancer treatment programs, which means that our patients can benefit from:
- The latest surgical procedures, including mechanical and chemical pleurodesis techniques
- Clinical trials through which surgical innovations are offered before they are made widely available in other settings
- Surgical and nonsurgical treatments offered in one location
- Comprehensive supportive care programs to assist with the recovery process
To learn more about the pleurodesis procedure or any of the other surgical treatments we offer for chest cancers, call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online. No referral is required to request a consultation.