What Is a Mesothelioma Treatment Center?
It takes cutting-edge technology, innovative research and a multidisciplinary team of doctors who have dedicated their careers to treating this rare cancer to be considered a specialty mesothelioma treatment center.
Cancer centers that specialize in mesothelioma are among the best health facilities in the world.
Several mesothelioma cancer centers made U.S. News & World Report’s 2018-19 Best Hospitals for Cancer list. These include programs at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center and H. Lee Moffit Cancer Center.
Picking the right cancer treatment center might be the most important medical decision you can make. Don’t take it lightly.
Many patients decide to travel to another state or across the country to receive the best treatment. There are resources available to help. Do your homework to find the best fit for you.
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How to Choose the Right Cancer Center
Research Top Doctors
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. Some of the best doctors in the country work at cancer centers with dedicated mesothelioma programs.Read About Top Mesothelioma Doctors
Decide on a Treatment Strategy
In general, the treatment for mesothelioma is much like the treatment for other cancers. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are the most common treatments. Asbestos-related cancers have no cure, but experts in the field can help patients outlive their prognosis.
Doctors often point patients to emerging therapies and clinical trials for the latest treatments such as immunotherapy. Mesothelioma cancer centers tend to offer more mesothelioma clinical trials than other facilities.Review Treatment Options for Mesothelioma
Consider Treatment Costs and Other Expenses
Treating mesothelioma is expensive. Even with the best insurance plans, families can go through a financial crisis to make sure a loved one gets the recommended treatments. The cost of traveling to a specialized cancer center is a major concern for many families. Free enrollment in clinical trials, travel grants and other financial resources can help.Learn About Mesothelioma Costs and Resources
Top Treatment Centers for Pleural Mesothelioma
Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type of this asbestos-related cancer. Some of the best cancer centers in the world feature thoracic surgeons and other oncologists who specialize in the treatment of this malignancy. These centers also sponsor the latest mesothelioma clinical trials.
Emily Ward Pleural mesothelioma survivor treated at Brigham and Women's Hospital in 2012
“Every patient should be offered a second opinion at a specialty center, because that’s where the research is being done.”
Top Treatment Centers for Peritoneal Mesothelioma
The top cancer centers for peritoneal mesothelioma offer the life-extending hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy combined with surgery. Not all cancer centers have the equipment to perform this procedure. Half of patients who qualify for this treatment live longer than five years.
Need Money for Treatment?
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may qualify for financial assistance.Get Help Now
Best VA Hospitals for Mesothelioma
Veterans represent a disproportionate amount of mesothelioma cases compared to the general public. The VA has hospitals to choose from that specialize in mesothelioma treatment.
Once in the VA health care system, a veteran can seek treatment anywhere in the country. They only need a referral to receive specialized care.
VA Boston Healthcare System
- Most high-profile VA facility in the country for treating mesothelioma.
- Thoracic surgeon Dr. Abraham Lebenthal specializes in mesothelioma and veterans issues.
- Close proximity to the International Mesothelioma Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
VA West Los Angeles Medical Center
- Mesothelioma treatment pioneer Dr. Robert Cameron is the chief of thoracic surgery.
- Close relationship with the nearby Pacific Mesothelioma Center and the UCLA Comprehensive Cancer Center.
- Part of largest, most complex system in the VA, serving 1.4 million veterans in the area.
Miami VA Healthcare System
- Home to Dr. Dao Nguyen, a research leader in targeting molecular therapy for pleural mesothelioma.
- Close partnership with the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine.
- Serves three South Florida counties and treats mesothelioma patients throughout the southeastern United States.
Importance of Choosing a Mesothelioma Specialty Center
Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that is difficult to treat. Most doctors rarely see it and don’t understand it fully. A mesothelioma-focused specialist does.
Cancer centers with experience treating mesothelioma offer a multidisciplinary approach to care. This means a team of doctors specializing in different areas of medicine meet regularly to discuss your personalized treatment plan.
Oncologists at these centers collaborate with other specialists such as surgeons, radiologists, pathologists and palliative care doctors. This allows them to offer the most comprehensive cancer care possible.
Mesothelioma Is Often Misdiagnosed
Too often with mesothelioma, patients are initially misdiagnosed. They begin treatment for a surface-level symptom or a problem they don’t have.
Many of the first symptoms of mesothelioma mimic and can be confused with less serious illnesses. This is why an individual’s history of asbestos exposure should be communicated early to a physician who understands it.
Mesothelioma Requires Specialized Treatment
Surgeries, chemotherapy drugs and radiation treatments can be part of a multimodal treatment approach.
The best treatments today for this cancer are specialized. It is no longer a restricted regimen. A decade ago, the life expectancy for a mesothelioma patient was six to 12 months. Specialized treatment centers are prolonging life to several years after diagnosis.
The Right Care Can Extend Your Life
Some people live for five years or more with mesothelioma. Many of the specialized centers have patients who have lived for 10 years or more with specialized proper care.
Although no cure has been found, researchers believe mesothelioma will one day be treated like a chronic illness. Ongoing research at specialty cancer centers across the country is making that goal possible.
5 Cited Article Sources
U.S. News & World Report. (2019). Best Hospitals for Cancer.
Retrieved from: https://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals/rankings/cancer
Cancer.net. (2017, July). Mesothelioma: Statistics.
Retrieved from: https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/mesothelioma/statistics
Narang, A.K. and Nicholas, L.H. (2017, June 1). Out-of-Pocket Spending and Financial Burden Among Medicare Beneficiaries With Cancer.
Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27893028
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (n.d.). Asbestos and Mesothelioma.
Retrieved from: https://www.boston.va.gov/services/surgical/Asbestos_and_Mesothelioma.asp
- UChicago Medicine. (n.d.). Mesothelioma. Retrieved from: https://www.uchicagomedicine.org/conditions-services/cancer/mesothelioma
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Last Modified June 21, 2019