Mesothelioma Doctors

Anyone diagnosed with mesothelioma 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.

Find a Specialist Near You

8 Results Found in

Dr. Aaron Mansfield

Aaron S. Mansfield, M.D.

Lung Cancer and Mesothelioma Immunotherapy

Mayo Clinic Minnesota
Dr. Robert Ramirez

Robert Ramirez, M.D.

Lung Cancer, Pleural Mesothelioma, Research

Ochsner Medical Center
Jack A. Elias

Jack A. Elias, M.D.

Internal Medicine: Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine

Yale New Haven Health Smilow Cancer Hospital
Dr. Charles Conway

W. Charles Conway, M.D.

Peritoneal surface malignancies, complex oncologic surgeries

Ridley-Tree Cancer Center
Dr. Brian Pettiford

Brian Pettiford, M.D.

Pleural Mesothelioma, Lung Cancer

Ochsner Medical Center
Miguel Alvelo-Rivera

Miguel Alvelo-Rivera, M.D.

Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery

Henry Ford Hospital
Betty Tong

Betty Tong, M.D.

Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery

Duke Cancer Center
Nathan Pennell

Nathan Pennell, M.D.

Mesothelioma, Lung Cancer, Clincal Trials

Cleveland Clinic Cancer Institute
Neil Christie

Neil Christie, M.D.

Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery

UPMC Hillman Cancer Center

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Top Pleural Mesothelioma Doctors

Medical Outreach Director Missy Edmunds explains how we connect people with top mesothelioma doctors.

Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type of asbestos-related cancer, representing more than 75 percent of all cases. Still, given the rarity of the disease, thoracic doctors who specialize in pleural mesothelioma are few and far between.

Several surgeons across the country have emerged as leaders in the field of mesothelioma cancer, utilizing the most advanced treatment methods to give patients a longer life expectancy. These doctors often work at prestigious hospitals equipped with the latest technology, multidisciplinary teams and many of them are involved with ongoing clinical trials.

Some of the nation's top pleural mesothelioma doctors include:

David Sugarbaker
  • Patients and peers refer to him as “Mr. Mesothelioma.”
  • America’s foremost authority on mesothelioma.
  • Chief thoracic surgeon at the Lung Institute.
Abraham Lebenthal
  • Worked alongside Sugarbaker at Brigham & Women’s Hospital.
  • Director of minimally invasive thoracic surgery at VA Boston HealthCare System.
  • Instructor at Harvard Medical School.
Robert B. Cameron
  • Pioneer in developing lung-sparing pleurectomy/decortication (P/D).
  • Director of thoracic surgery at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.
  • Serves as scientific advisor for the Pacific Mesothelioma Center.
Jacques Fontaine
  • Director of the Mesothelioma Research and Treatment Center at Moffitt.
  • Specializes in minimally invasive techniques, including robotic surgery.
  • Began his thoracic surgery practice at the University of Montreal.

Top Peritoneal Mesothelioma Doctors

Peritoneal mesothelioma, which develops on the protective lining surrounding the abdominal cavity, accounts for roughly 20 percent of malignant mesothelioma cases. A surgical oncologist with experience treating peritoneal mesothelioma and performing complex abdominal surgeries is a patient’s best option.

The number of peritoneal mesothelioma specialists remains small, but these doctors are involved with major breakthroughs for treating the rare cancer, including the promising heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC), a process that combines surgery and heated chemotherapy delivered directly to the abdomen.

Only a select few cancer centers across the country are equipped to perform HIPEC treatments.

Some top peritoneal mesothelioma doctors include:

Dr. Charles Conway
  • One of nation’s leaders in peritoneal mesothelioma.
  • Leader in robotic surgery.
  • Performed first robotic pancreaticoduodenectomy.
Paul H. Sugarbaker
  • Renowned for his work in peritoneal mesothelioma.
  • Chief of Peritoneal Surface Malignancy Program.
  • Director of the Center for Gastrointestinal Malignancies at the Washington (D.C.) Hospital Center.
J.F. Pingpank Jr.
  • Advocate of heated chemotherapy.
  • Focuses on increasing progression-free survival.
  • Leader in peritoneal mesothelioma research.
Dr. Sophie Dessureault
  • Lead surgeon in Moffitt’s study of cytoreductive surgery and HIPEC.
  • Associate professor at the University of South Florida’s College of Medicine.
  • Winner of the American Society of Clinical Oncology Career Development Award.

Importance of a Mesothelioma Specialist

Treating mesothelioma is a delicate and time-sensitive process. The cancer is associated with a long latency period, but it typically spreads quickly by the time it is diagnosed.

Because mesothelioma is rare, it is often misdiagnosed as other cancers or less serious conditions. Early diagnosis and treatment can have a significant effect on a patient’s prognosis and life expectancy.

Kasie Coleman

“I can’t tell you the amount of people I’ve talked to who are no longer here because they got treated by an oncologist and not a mesothelioma specialist. It happens so often.” Kasie Coleman, peritoneal mesothelioma survivor diagnosed in 2010

Finding a mesothelioma specialist can ensure you get access to the latest treatments and care from an oncologist familiar with the rare cancer. A specialist knows the risks, potential side effects and other intricacies of mesothelioma treatments.

That familiarity helps the doctor connect with the patient and form the best treatment plan possible.

And although they share some similarities, it is important to choose a doctor who specializes in your particular type of mesothelioma. For example, an oncologist specializing in pleural mesothelioma cancer wouldn’t be the ideal choice for peritoneal patients or vice versa.

Many mesothelioma survivors credit their specialists for their extended life expectancy and continue to travel long distances to continue treatments and checkups with their oncologist.

How to Choose Your Mesothelioma Doctor

Dr. Fontaine explains why choosing a mesothelioma specialist is so important.

One of the most important concerns when choosing a doctor is finding one you can trust completely with your care. You will want to evaluate the doctor's expertise and get a sense of how comfortable you feel with the head of the 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.

Common Questions to Ask Your Doctor

Once you choose a mesothelioma specialist you are comfortable with, you will likely still have plenty of questions that need answering. Every mesothelioma specialist is different, and each may have a unique way of relaying information or answering questions.

Raeleen Minchuk

"You have to trust somebody who’s going to tell you that you have a 50 percent chance of not coming off the operating table. They have to sell themselves to you, too." Raeleen Minchuk, peritoneal mesothelioma survivor diagnosed in 2014

Don’t shy away from tough questions, and consider taking a notepad or journal with you to help you remember and organize important dates, facts and other useful details.

One of the most common questions asked is about a patient’s chance of survival. After a specialist knows the stage of your cancer, they will be able to give your mesothelioma prognosis and life expectancy.

Knowing prognosis and life expectancy can lead to other important questions about your treatment options and the goal of treatment.

Additional Resources

Free VA Claims Assistance Get Help Now
Free Mesothelioma Packet Free Mesothelioma Information Guide Request Yours Now
Join a Mesothelioma Support Group Learn More

Karen Selby joined 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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