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Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine & Mesothelioma Treatment

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A doctor of osteopathic medicine is a licensed physician like other medical doctors. They can prescribe medication, perform surgeries and specialize in any area of medicine. But, they offer a uniquely holistic approach to patient care. This can benefit patients with mesothelioma.

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Top Osteopathic Doctors for Mesothelioma

The following doctors of osteopathic medicine have experience treating people with mesothelioma.

Dr. Hossein Borghaei, pleural mesothelioma specialist & researcher

Dr. Hossein Borghaei

Fox Chase Cancer Center

Dr. Hossein Borghaei is chief of thoracic medical oncology and director of the Fox Chase Lung Cancer Center in Philadelphia. He is board-certified in internal medicine, medical oncology and osteopathic medicine. Borghaei specializes in medical oncology for pleural mesothelioma and lung cancer.

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Dr. Shanel Bhagwandin, peritoneal mesothelioma surgeon

Dr. Shanel Bhagwandin

Jupiter Medical Center

Dr. Shanel Bhagwandin is a peritoneal mesothelioma specialist and surgeon with expertise in cytoreductive surgery with heated chemotherapy. He began his training in osteopathic medicine before he became board-certified in general surgery, surgical oncology gastroenterology and hepato-pancreato-biliary surgery.

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Dr. Robert Ramirez, pleural mesothelioma doctor

Dr. Robert Ramirez

Ochsner Medical Center

Dr. Robert Ramirez is the associate director of cancer research at Ochsner Health System in New Orleans. He started his career in osteopathic medicine before he became board-certified in internal medicine and medical oncology. Ramirez specializes in medical oncology for pleural mesothelioma and lung cancer.

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How Do Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine Treat Patients?

Doctors of osteopathic medicine aim to treat the whole person, not just the illness or injury. They focus on preventative medicine and use osteopathic manipulative medicine.

Osteopathic manipulative medicine aims to improve the health of the musculoskeletal system. This system is the body’s interconnected network of muscles, nerves and bones. Osteopaths are trained to use their hands to diagnose and treat injury and illness within the musculoskeletal system.

Osteopaths try to empower patients with medical information. They educate patients on ways to prevent injury and illness. They teach patients how to take better care of their overall health.

Osteopathic physicians help people with mesothelioma manage their health. They help treat cancer symptoms and treatment side effects. Patients who experience nerve, muscle or bone pain may particularly benefit from osteopathic health care.

What Is a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine?

A doctor of osteopathic medicine receives training at an osteopathic school. They go through the same internship and residency process as medical doctors.

Osteopathic medicine was pioneered by Andrew Still in the late 1800s. Still was a medical doctor who was concerned about the overuse of potentially harmful medication.

Dr. Still was also concerned about the direction that traditional medicine was taking. After the U.S. Civil War, many popular medicines in use had toxic effects on patients. Dr. Still began to emphasize the importance of preventative medicine and the health of the whole person, not just treating disease.

Osteopathic medicine is similar to palliative care in that both disciplines aim to control symptoms and improve patient quality of life.

What is osteopathic medicine?
Osteopathic medicine focuses on preventative medicine, musculoskeletal health and limited use of prescription drugs.
What kind of doctor is a D.O.?
D.O. stands for “osteopathic doctor.” About 56 percent of D.O.s practice in primary specialties such as family medicine, pediatric medicine, internal medicine and osteopathic manipulative medicine. A handful have become mesothelioma specialists in fields such as medical oncology or thoracic surgery.
What is a D.O. in medical terms?
D.O.s practice osteopathic medicine, while M.D.s practice allopathic medicine. Allopathic medicine involves the treatment of disease by conventional means. Osteopathic medicine is different — it integrates preventative medicine, uses fewer prescription drugs and applies osteopathic manipulative techniques.
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Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine vs. Medical Doctor

There are two kinds of physicians in America: Medical doctors and osteopathic doctors. A doctor of osteopathic medicine goes through the same kind of training as other medical doctors. But they must also complete 200 hours of additional training in osteopathic manipulative medicine.

  • Osteopaths get their medical degree from a U.S. osteopathic school. They are accredited by the American Osteopathic Associate Commission, which is within the Osteopathic College Accreditation.

  • Medical doctors get their degree from schools accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education.

Both kinds of doctors attend four years of medical school and complete internships and residencies. Both are licensed by the same state licensing boards. This means they both must meet the same requirements to practice medicine.

Is an osteopath a real doctor?
Yes, an osteopath is a real doctor. They are licensed and board-certified doctors, just like M.D.s.
What is the difference between M.D. and D.O.?
The primary difference between M.D.s and D.O.s is that D.O.s are trained in osteopathic manipulative medicine. D.O.s tend to prescribe fewer medications, and they teach patients about preventative medicine. D.O.s use osteojapathic manipulation to diagnose and treat musculoskeletal issues.

Top Qualities of an Osteopathic Doctor

Patients should look for the following qualities in an osteopathic doctor.

  • Good communication skills
  • Compassionate interaction with patients
  • Patience in explaining medical care
  • Gentle touch when applying osteopathic manipulative medicine
  • Involvement in community care or educating future osteopaths

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Registered Nurse and Patient Advocate

Karen Selby joined in 2009. She is a registered nurse with a background in oncology and thoracic surgery and was the regional 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.

Walter Pacheco, Managing Editor at
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5 Cited Article Sources

The sources on all content featured in The Mesothelioma Center at include medical and scientific studies, peer-reviewed studies and other research documents from reputable organizations.

  1. Indiana University Bloomington. (n.d.). Two Kinds of Physicians: Allopathic and Osteopathic.
    Retrieved from:
  2. Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. (n.d.). What is Osteopathic Medicine?
    Retrieved from:
  3. UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. (2017, April 26). DO vs. MD: What’s the difference?
    Retrieved from:
  4. American Osteopathic Association. (n.d.). About DOs.
    Retrieved from:
  5. American Osteopathic Association. (n.d.). What is a DO? Retrieved from:

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Last Modified April 12, 2020

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