Top Thoracic Surgeons for Mesothelioma
Find a Specialist Near You
What Is a Thoracic Surgeon?
Thoracic surgeons are doctors with specialized training to perform a variety of mesothelioma surgeries.
The most common surgeries include:
- Biopsies of tissues in the chest cavity to diagnose disease
- An exploratory operation to determine the extent of disease and best course of treatment going forward
- Tumor removal to help treat pleural mesothelioma, and in some cases, put the disease in remission
- Palliative surgery to improve symptoms, lessen pain and improve quality of life for people living with mesothelioma
What Does a Thoracic Surgeon Do?
For patients with early-stage disease that has not spread beyond the original tumor, a thoracic surgeon can offer the best chance of long-term survival for pleural mesothelioma.
Surgery may not be a significant component of how you will treat mesothelioma. In any case, a thoracic surgeon can still be essential to managing your disease.
Thoracic surgeons can obtain tissue samples of your disease. These samples will help your oncologist determine your best care plan.
The mesothelioma cells making up your tumor may affect the type and amount of chemotherapy drugs and radiation therapy treatments recommended for you.
One of the most essential things your thoracic surgeon can do is to alleviate symptoms of the disease.
Thoracic surgeons can remove fluid on or around your lungs. This type of palliative care helps to alleviate shortness of breath and pain.
These procedures, called thoracentesis and pleurodesis, can help you feel much better. They’ll also help you breathe easier.
How do Thoracic Surgeons Treat Mesothelioma Patients?
Thoracic surgeons operate on chest cavity organs such as the lungs, heart, pleura and pericardium.
The pleura is the membrane that lines the chest cavity and the lungs. The pericardium is the membrane surrounding the heart.
These medical specialists are trained to perform surgery on people diagnosed with certain types of mesothelioma.
Thoracic surgeons are among the mesothelioma specialists on the front lines of treating and managing the disease.
For patients diagnosed with mesothelioma of the pleura or pericardium, consultation with a thoracic surgeon is an important part of medical care and treatment.
Thoracic surgeons also routinely lead clinical research trials to improve techniques for safety and efficacy. In 2021, the European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery published updated guidelines for mesothelioma surgery based on collaboration with the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
The Society of Thoracic Surgeons offers additional information on this important medical specialty.
How Do I Find a Mesothelioma Thoracic Surgeon Near Me?
Ask your oncologist for a referral to a thoracic surgeon with experience treating mesothelioma. This is important even if you don’t plan to have complete tumor removal as part of your pleural or pericardial mesothelioma care.
A mesothelioma-specialist thoracic surgeon may be unavailable at your treatment center. In this case, you may want to consult with someone using telemedicine or travel to a larger cancer treatment facility for a second opinion.
New or emerging surgical techniques that haven’t been available previously may be available to you now.
Also, consider clinical trials for mesothelioma. These include treatments by a thoracic surgeon collaborating with mesothelioma doctors, immunotherapy specialists and other experts.
This combination of medical team members can help you achieve the best possible outcomes after a mesothelioma diagnosis.
Clinicaltrials.gov lists dozens of studies. This resource includes thoracic surgery among the treatments being studied.