Treatment & Doctors

Mesothelioma Specialty Centers Factor in 2021 Best Hospital Rankings

Written By:
Jan 12, 2022
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Written By: Tim Povtak,
January 12, 2022

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston is No. 1 for the seventh consecutive year on the prestigious U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals for Cancer list.

The annual cancer rankings were included in the media company’s recently published Best Hospitals 2022 guidebook. Cancer is one of the 15 specialties for which hospitals in the U.S. were ranked.

Other hospitals in the top five are: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City; Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota; Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and the Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center.

Mesothelioma specialty programs contributed to the high rankings of the top five, where doctors have access to the most up-to-date diagnostic and treatment advances. They also see this rare cancer more often than most.

“These rankings are meant for patients with life-threatening or rare conditions who need a hospital that excels in treating complex, high-risk cases,” the study authors wrote. “These rankings are helpful if you’re looking for information about a rare condition or difficult diagnosis that isn’t treated at many facilities.”

U.S. News & World Report Top 10 Cancer Centers

The following cancer centers placed in the top 10 on the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals for Cancer list, with a tie for sixth place.

  1. University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston
  2. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York City
  3. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
  4. Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, Boston
  5. Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland
  6. Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore (tied for 6th)
  7. Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago (tied for 6th)
  8. UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles
  9. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles
  10. Hospitals of the University of Pennsylvania-Penn Presbyterian, Philadelphia

There were only a few changes in the rankings from the year before. Johns Hopkins dropped from fourth to a tie for sixth, while Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s rose from sixth to fourth.

Both UCLA Medical Center and University of Pennsylvania-Penn Presbyterian moved into the top 10 after falling out the previous year.

Rankings Are Key for Treatment of Rare Cancers

Mesothelioma, which is caused by exposure to asbestos, is diagnosed in an estimated 3,000 patients annually. Finding a staff experienced in treating this cancer with a multidisciplinary approach can help patients extend their lives significantly, well beyond the median survival of 12 months.

These centers are often where the cutting-edge clinical trials can be found and where treatment advances are made. MD Anderson, for example, has almost 20 mesothelioma clinical trials in the active or recruiting phase.

“Our evaluations are relevant to patients with mesothelioma,” Ben Harder, managing editor and chief of health analysis at U.S. News and World Report, told The Mesothelioma Center at “These rankings identify the top centers for complex oncology care that other hospitals might see rarely, if ever.”

High Ranking Means Medical Excellence

The top 10 cancer centers in the rankings are filled with specialists well known within the mesothelioma community.

Thoracic surgeons such as Dr. Robert Cameron (UCLA), Dr. Abraham Lebenthal (Dana-Farber), Dr. David Rice (MD Anderson) and Dr. Sunil Singhal (University of Pennsylvania) are leaders in the field.

Oncologists Dr. Prasad Adusumilli (Memorial Sloan Kettering), Dr. James Stevenson (Cleveland Clinic), Dr. Aaron Mansfield (Mayo Clinic) and Dr. Anne Tsao (MD Anderson) have been lauded as both clinicians and researchers who have improved mesothelioma treatment with their work.

A second tier of 10 treatment centers rounds out the top 20 on the rankings list. It includes UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco, UPMC in Pittsburgh, Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center in Duarte, California. These centers also have a solid reputation for excellent mesothelioma treatment.

Four Categories Determine Best Cancer Hospital Rankings

Rankings were based on a wide range of factors, but included four broad categories:

  • Outcomes and Patient Experience
  • Key Programs and Staff
  • Professional Recognition
  • Conditions/Procedures Applicable to Cancer

The Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, UCLA Medical Center and Johns Hopkins ranked 1 through 4 respectively on the Best Hospitals Honor Roll, exhibiting their excellence beyond treating cancer.

Other specialty categories that were part of the overall rankings included Cardiology & Heart Surgery, Gastroenterology & GI Surgery, Neurology & Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Rheumatology, Diabetes & Endocrinology.

More than 4,750 hospitals across the country were evaluated and 175 were nationally ranked in at least one specialty.

To qualify for consideration in one of the specialty categories, a hospital had to satisfy at least one of four criteria:

  • Must be a teaching hospital
  • Affiliated with a medical school
  • At least 200 staffed beds or at least 100 beds
  • Have four technologies associated with high-quality care

Impact from the COVID-19 pandemic was not factored into the ranking, although it will be used for the 2022-23 evaluations expected to be released in July.

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