Anyone diagnosed with mesothelioma today is strongly encouraged to find a specialist who understands the intricacies of this rare cancer. Because the disease represents only 0.3 percent of all diagnosed cancers, only a select number of doctors have experience treating mesothelioma.
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Several mesothelioma doctors across the nation have emerged as leaders in the field, utilizing the most advanced treatment methods to give patients a longer life expectancy. These doctors often work at prestigious hospitals equipped with cutting-edge technology, and many are involved with ongoing clinical trials. Some of the nation's most renowned mesothelioma doctors include:
The International Mesothelioma Program (IMP) at Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston is one of the most renowned centers in the world. It pushes to develop advancements in multimodal therapy, which utilizes a mix of radiation, chemotherapy and surgery. Doctors there include Scott Swanson, professor of surgery at Brigham & Women's and pioneer in the development of video-assisted thoracic surgeries; and Raphael Bueno, assistant chief of the IMP and heavily involved in developing novel therapies.
The Mesothelioma Program at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston offers a premier radiation therapy center and is a leader in mesothelioma research with an extensive list of clinical trials. Doctors there include Anne Tsao, program director and well-known leader in thoracic oncology; David Rice, who has helped pioneer developments with radiation therapy; and Stephen Swisher, chairman of the Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery Department and gene therapy specialist.
The Pacific Meso Center (PMC) in Los Angeles is a part of the Pacific Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and is the West Coast leader in the treatment of mesothelioma. Heading that program is renowned surgeon Robert Cameron, M.D., who first developed the lung-sparing pleurectomy/decortication surgical therapy. Also in Los Angeles is surgeon Jay Lee, director of the Thoracic Oncology Program at UCLA.
Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City is one of the oldest and most established medical centers in the U.S., and now home to two of the most well-respected mesothelioma specialists in the country. Raja Flores, M.D., chief of thoracic surgery, has become a leading authority in pleural mesothelioma. Surgical oncologist Daniel Labow, M.D., has carved his niche with peritoneal mesothelioma and the hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) that he helped pioneer. They are joined by Andrea Wolf, M.D., assistant professor of cardiothoracic surgery, who has advanced the case for multimodal therapy with mesothelioma patients. Mount Sinai once played a leading role in establishing asbestos-in-the-workplace guidelines adopted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
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One of the most important concerns is finding a doctor who you can trust completely with your care. You will want to evaluate the doctor's expertise while also getting comfortable with the head of a team charged with trying to save your life.
In fact, building a good relationship with your health care team ensures everyone — you, your loved ones, your doctors and nurses — can efficiently communicate with each other.
Here are some questions to ask:
How many years has this doctor been practicing?
Do I want this doctor to make decisions for me or simply offer me options?
Will this doctor respect my choices and address all of my concerns?
Can I openly communicate with this doctor?
Does this doctor accept my insurance?
Is it easy to travel to this facility for all of my appointments?
How many cases of mesothelioma has this doctor treated in his or her career? Have any of these cases been recent?
What types of mesothelioma does this doctor treat? Has he or she managed any cases of my particular subtype?
What treatments does this doctor typically use to treat mesothelioma?
Is this doctor prepared to treat my cancer if it spreads to other parts of my body?
Does this doctor support any supplemental types of therapy in addition to direct medical intervention?
Does the facility this doctor is associated with offer access to any clinical trials? Can the doctor help me sign up for any that I might qualify for?
Patients facing financial issues may be eligible for travel grants. Some mesothelioma specialists work remotely with doctors in other states, making their expertise available to people who cannot travel long distances. Our patient advocates can help connect you with the right mesothelioma specialist for you.
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