Oncologists are doctors who specialize in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The three main fields of oncology care are medical, surgical and radiation oncology. Mesothelioma patients typically deal with oncologists in all three major areas of oncology.
Written by Karen Selby, RN Edited By Walter Pacheco Medically Reviewed By Dr. Jeffrey Velotta
Asbestos.com is the nation’s most trusted mesothelioma resource
The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com has provided patients and their loved ones the most updated and reliable information on mesothelioma and asbestos exposure since 2006.
Our team of Patient Advocates includes a medical doctor, a registered nurse, health services administrators, veterans, VA-accredited Claims Agents, an oncology patient navigator and hospice care expert. Their combined expertise means we help any mesothelioma patient or loved one through every step of their cancer journey.
More than 30 contributors, including mesothelioma doctors, survivors, health care professionals and other experts, have peer-reviewed our website and written unique research-driven articles to ensure you get the highest-quality medical and health information.
About The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com
- Assisting mesothelioma patients and their loved ones since 2006.
- Helps more than 50% of mesothelioma patients diagnosed annually in the U.S.
- A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
- 5-star reviewed mesothelioma and support organization.
My family has only the highest compliment for the assistance and support that we received from The Mesothelioma Center. This is a staff of compassionate and knowledgeable individuals who respect what your family is experiencing and who go the extra mile to make an unfortunate diagnosis less stressful. Information and assistance were provided by The Mesothelioma Center at no cost to our family.LashawnMesothelioma patient’s daughter
How to Cite Asbestos.com’s Article
Selby, K. (2023, March 23). Mesothelioma Oncologists. Asbestos.com. Retrieved May 31, 2023, from https://www.asbestos.com/treatment/specialists/oncologists/
Selby, Karen. "Mesothelioma Oncologists." Asbestos.com, 23 Mar 2023, https://www.asbestos.com/treatment/specialists/oncologists/.
Selby, Karen. "Mesothelioma Oncologists." Asbestos.com. Last modified March 23, 2023. https://www.asbestos.com/treatment/specialists/oncologists/.
Top Oncologists for Mesothelioma
Find a Specialist Near You
Types of Mesothelioma Oncologists
Oncologists who specialize in mesothelioma give patients with this rare cancer the best chance at longer survival. If surgery is an option, they will be able to refer patients to a surgical oncologist with expertise in the complex tumor-removing procedures for mesothelioma.
Specialized oncologists are also familiar with ongoing mesothelioma clinical trials and emerging treatments. For example, a 2022 research study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology described new developments in treatment strategies for radiology, surgery, radiation and medical oncology with cellular therapies.
The type of oncologist a mesothelioma patient will work with depends on the type of mesothelioma.
Pleural mesothelioma patients see thoracic oncologists. Patients with peritoneal mesothelioma should see oncologists with experience treating abdominal cancers.
Thoracic oncologists specialize in treating cancers of the thorax (the chest cavity).
Thoracic oncology programs at cancer centers across the nation treat lung cancer, thymoma, tracheal cancer and other thoracic malignancies.
However, because pleural mesothelioma is so rare, not all thoracic oncology programs or thoracic oncologists have the expertise to treat this cancer.
Mesothelioma patients should seek treatment at a mesothelioma specialty center. This will ensure they receive care from a team with experience treating asbestos-related cancers.
Oncologists for Peritoneal Mesothelioma
People diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma should receive treatment from an oncologist with experience treating peritoneal surface malignancies.
Peritoneal mesothelioma patients often live significantly longer than pleural mesothelioma patients. Surgery plays a major role in long-term survival.
The most successful treatment for this mesothelioma type is a combination of surgery and heated chemotherapy. Surgical oncologists with experience in treating peritoneal mesothelioma are best equipped to perform this procedure.
How do Oncologists Help Plan Treatment Strategy?
Oncologists are an essential part of a multidisciplinary team of cancer doctors. They are the doctors who deliver a cancer diagnosis and recommend treatment options. They help coordinate care across multiple disciplines.
Types and Roles of Oncologists
- Medical Oncologist: This is the most common area of oncology. Medical oncologists specialize in the treatment of solid tumors, including lung cancer and mesothelioma. They often treat cancer with chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy. Medical oncologists can also refer patients to a surgical oncologist for tumor-removing procedures.
- Surgical Oncologist: These are general surgeons who have additional training in the removal of tumors. Surgical oncologists typically specialize within their particular discipline. For example, a thoracic surgeon with oncology training may perform tumor-removing surgery for lung cancer, esophageal cancer, mesothelioma and other malignancies.
- Radiation Oncologist: These physicians specialize in treating cancers with radiation therapy.
A person diagnosed with mesothelioma will work with an oncologist or a team of oncologists during their cancer treatment. Oncologists manage the patient’s care throughout the course of the disease.
Oncologists work closely with other health care professionals, including pathologists, diagnostic radiologists, oncology nurses and oncology social workers.
Role of Oncologists for Mesothelioma
The terms “mesothelioma doctor” or “mesothelioma specialist” typically refer to medical oncologists or surgical oncologists who specialize in treating asbestos-related cancers.
The majority of mesothelioma patients do not qualify for surgery. Because of this, they may never meet or be evaluated by a surgical oncologist.
Instead, a medical oncologist will explain the cancer diagnosis and recommend treatment options such as chemotherapy. They also help the patient manage symptoms and treatment side effects.
Do Oncologists Diagnose Mesothelioma?
Surgical oncologists can perform a biopsy to diagnose mesothelioma. However, most patients visit a general lung surgeon or gastrointestinal surgeon for a biopsy if cancer is suspected.
If the biopsy comes back positive for cancer, the patient is then referred to an oncology specialist.
Radiation Oncology for Mesothelioma
Radiation oncologists are specialty physicians who use radiation therapy to treat cancer.
Like surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists can specialize in treating certain types of cancer. For example, thoracic radiation oncology focuses on radiation therapy for lung cancer and mesothelioma.
Radiation therapy can be used to shrink tumors or prevent cancer recurrence. It is also used as a palliative treatment to relieve pain and manage symptoms.