Cancer hospitals across the nation provide mesothelioma treatment and services for people diagnosed with this asbestos-related disease. They have specialists — surgeons, oncologists, radiologists and other doctors — who know the intricacies of this complex cancer.
It takes cutting-edge technology, innovative research and a multidisciplinary team of doctors who have dedicated part of their career to mesothelioma to be considered a specialty mesothelioma treatment center.
Cancer centers that specialize in mesothelioma are among the best health facilities in the world.
According to the 2017 issue of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals for Cancer, several mesothelioma cancer centers made the national list, including the MD Anderson Cancer Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Mayo Clinic and UCLA Medical Center.
Picking the right cancer treatment center might be the most important medical decision you can make. Don’t take it lightly. Do your homework to find the best fit for you. Or you can lean on us for help, and we’ll walk you through it.
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A team of experts and a focus on clinical research is necessary to properly treat pleural mesothelioma. The following cancer centers feature some of the nation’s leading experts in pleural mesothelioma, provide patient-focused care, and sponsor and offer participation in the latest mesothelioma clinical trials.
75 Francis Street, Boston, MA 02115
10833 Le Conte Ave Los Angeles, CA 90024
6620 Main Street Suite 1325 Houston, TX 77030
1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, TX 77030
12902 Magnolia Drive, Tampa, FL 33612
5841 S Maryland Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637
The facilities on this list offer the life-extending hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) procedure combined with surgery, which revolutionized standard of care for people with peritoneal mesothelioma. Not all cancer centers have the equipment to perform this procedure. Half of patients who qualify for this treatment strategy live longer than five years.
110 Irving Street, NW Washington, DC 20010
1514 Jefferson Highway, New Orleans, LA 70121
5115 Centre Ave Pittsburgh, PA 15232
3855 Health Sciences Dr., La Jolla, CA 92093
19229 Mack Ave. Grosse Pointe Woods, MI 48236
The rarity of mesothelioma — only an estimated 3,000 Americans are diagnosed each year — in comparison to many other cancers is what makes a specialist so hard to find. Most doctors or oncologists rarely see it and don’t understand it fully. A Mesothelioma focused specialist does.
These centers also offer a multidisciplinary approach to cancer care, which means a team of doctors specializing in different areas of medicine meet regularly to discuss your care. Oncologists at these centers collaborate with other specialists, such as surgeons, radiologists, pathologists and palliative care doctors, to offer the most comprehensive cancer care possible.
Too often with mesothelioma, patients are initially misdiagnosed and begin treatment for a problem they don’t have or a surface-level symptom. Many of the first symptoms of mesothelioma mimic and can be confused with less serious illnesses. It’s This is why an individual’s history of possible asbestos exposure — the primary cause of mesothelioma — should be communicated early to a physician who understands it.
Surgeries, chemotherapy drugs, radiation treatments — all part of a multimodal treatment approach — may differ among mesothelioma patients. The best treatments today for this cancer are specialized and no longer a one-size-fits-all regimen. A decade ago, the prognosis for a mesothelioma patient usually meant six to 12 months to live. The specialized treatment centers in operation today are extending more lives beyond that prognosis.
Some people live for five years or more with the disease. Many of the specialized centers have patients who have lived for 10 years and still are going strong with specialized proper care. Although no cure has been found, there is a belief that mesothelioma one day will be treated like a chronic illness.
Mesothelioma should be treated by an oncologist. However, not all cancer doctors are mesothelioma specialists. It is important to work with a doctor with experience treating asbestos-related cancers.
In general, the treatment for mesothelioma is much like the treatment for other cancers — surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are the most common treatments. Because asbestos-related cancers are so aggressive, doctors often point patients to emerging therapies and to clinical trials for the latest treatments such as immunotherapy. Cancer centers that specialize in mesothelioma tend to offer more mesothelioma clinical trials than other facilities.
There’s no getting around the fact that treating cancer is costly. Even with the best insurance plans, families can go through a financial crisis to make sure that loved ones get the prescribed treatments that could save lives or buy wanted time with family and friends. Even the cost of traveling to a specialized cancer center is a major concern for many families. According to a November 2016 study, Medicare patients without supplemental health insurance spend 23 percent of their income on cancer care.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may qualify for financial assistance.Get Help Now
Many veterans were exposed to asbestos during their time in the military and later developed related diseases. Although their military history makes them eligible for treatment at VA hospitals, that doesn’t mean there aren’t choices to make. The VA has hospitals to choose from that specialize in mesothelioma treatment.
In addition, once in the VA health care system, a veteran can seek treatment anywhere in the country, needing only a referral to receive specialized care.
“The most important thing is, if a patient trusts me, if they believe in me, at the end of the day, we’re going to a really big battle together. The stakes are pretty darn high. If you don’t believe in the person you’re going to battle with, if you’re not comfortable with him, then you should go with someone else.”
– Abraham Lebenthal, M.D., Surgeon at VA Boston Healthcare System and former Israeli infantry commander
Surgeon at VA Boston Healthcare System and former Israeli infantry commander
Lebenthal specializes in mesothelioma and veterans issues. His own military background plays a role in that interest. Because veterans are disproportionately affected — approximately one-third of all mesothelioma lawsuits in this country are filed by veterans — he has encouraged all veterans with the disease to find him.
The mesothelioma program in Boston often can arrange free or discounted housing. For many veterans, the biggest cost is the travel, but there also are charitable organizations that can help.
“This is not a knock on anyone, but mesothelioma is so complex, and its care so specialized, that a patient really needs the best care in the world,” Lebenthal said. “We’re in a unique position to offer that.”
Karen Selby joined Asbestos.com in 2009. She is a registered nurse with a background in oncology and thoracic surgery and was the director of a tissue bank before becoming a Patient Advocate at The Mesothelioma Center. Karen has assisted surgeons with thoracic surgeries such as lung resections, lung transplants, pneumonectomies, pleurectomies and wedge resections. She is also a member of the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators.
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