8 Min Read
Last Updated: 12/01/2023
Fact Checked

Written by Karen Selby, RN | Edited By Walter Pacheco

Where to Get Mesothelioma Treatment in Florida

Mesothelioma patients in Florida often visit H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa. Here, they can participate in innovative clinical trials. They also receive multidisciplinary care from a team of mesothelioma doctors.

Patients also visit Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center in Miami. Sylvester provides access to innovative surgical techniques. One example is cytoreductive surgery with heated chemotherapy. This procedure is the leading treatment for peritoneal mesothelioma.

In 2022, pivotal research came from Sylvester. The findings led the World Health Organization’s cancer division to reclassify firefighting as a Group 1 carcinogenic profession.

Pleural mesothelioma patients also turn to AdventHealth Celebration. This hospital is located just south of Orlando. Here, mesothelioma patients have access to robotic surgery.

Florida residents may need financial assistance to help pay for medical care. For many, mesothelioma treatment is expensive. Patients should speak with a Florida mesothelioma lawyer. It’s the best way to learn more about legal options for compensation. Florida asbestos manufacturers may be liable for your asbestos exposure. A lawyer can hold them responsible for medical costs related to your diagnosis.

Top Florida Mesothelioma Cancer Centers

The H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, mesothelioma treatment center

Moffitt Cancer Center

12902 Magnolia Drive, Tampa, FL 33612

Year Built: 1986
Number of Beds: 206 beds
Number of Physicians: 10

AdventHealth Cancer Institute Orlando

AdventHealth Orlando

2501 North Orange Ave., Orlando, FL 32804

Year Built: 1908
Number of Physicians: 2

AdventHealth Celebration, mesothelioma treatment center

AdventHealth Celebration

400 Celebration Pl, Kissimmee, FL 34747

Year Built: 1997
Number of Beds: 350 Beds
Number of Physicians: 1

Mesothelioma Specialists in Florida

Florida residents with mesothelioma have several experts in the state to choose from. These experts specialize in treating pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma.

Dr. Jacques Fontaine is a pleural mesothelioma specialist and surgeon. He leads the mesothelioma program at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida. The Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center in Miami is home to Villamizar. Both thoracic surgeons trained under Sugarbaker. He was the pioneer behind tumor-removing surgery for pleural mesothelioma.

Sylvester also features Dr. Mecker Moller. This peritoneal mesothelioma specialist was the first to perform the cytoreduction and heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) combination in South Florida.

In Orlando, pleural mesothelioma patients turn to Dr. Farid Gharagozloo. He is a thoracic surgeon who specializes in robotic surgery.

Top Florida Mesothelioma Doctors

Dr. Jacques Fontaine, pleural mesothelioma doctor and expert contributor for Asbestos.com

Tampa, Florida

Jacques Fontaine

Pleural Specialist | Thoracic Surgery

Expertise: Pleural Mesothelioma, Lung Cancer, Thoracic Diseases, Minimally Invasive Surgery, Pleurectomy and Decortication Surgery

Languages: English, Spanish, French, Arabic

Dr. Marcelo DaSilva, mesothelioma specialist

Orlando, Florida

Marcelo DaSilva

Pleural Specialist | Thoracic Surgery

Expertise: Pleural Mesothelioma, Robotic Surgery, Heated Chemotherapy, Chest Reconstruction

Languages: English, French, Portuguese, Spanish

Farid Gharagozloo, Thoracic Surgeon & Expert Contributor for Asbestos.com

Orlando, Florida

Farid Gharagozloo

Pleural Specialist | Thoracic Surgery

Expertise: Thoracic Disorgers Robotic Surgery

Languages: English

Dr. Nestor Villamizar, pleural mesothelioma doctor

Miami, Florida

Nestor Villamizar

Pleural Specialist | Cardiothoracic Surgery

Expertise: Pleural Mesothelioma Lung Cancer Pleurectomy and Decortication Surgery Minimally Invasive Robotic Surgery

Languages: English, Spanish, French

Dr. Mecker Moller, peritoneal mesothelioma specialist

Chicago, Illinois

Mecker Moller

Peritoneal Specialist | Surgical Oncology

Expertise: Cytoreductive Surgery HIPEC

Languages: English, Spanish

Mesothelioma Experts and Innovative Research in Florida

Florida ranks No. 2 in the nation for mesothelioma and asbestosis deaths. The primary reason is the state’s large retirement population. Thankfully, Florida is home to some of the best mesothelioma surgeons. These doctors work at some of the nation’s best hospitals and cancer centers.

Several surgeons in Florida have trained under Dr. David Sugarbaker. He was a mesothelioma specialist who pioneered treatment for the disease. One of these surgeons is Dr. Jacques Fontaine in Tampa. Another is Dr. Nestor Villamizar at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center in Miami.

The state’s mesothelioma experts have advanced new therapies for the disease. Doctors and cancer centers in Florida helped develop Tumor Treating Fields. This new therapy was approved in 2019 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat pleural mesothelioma.

Fontaine was part of a mesothelioma advisory group that helped develop TTFields. He was involved before the therapy became available to the public.

The Miami Cancer Institute was an early adopter of TTFields. It was one of the first mesothelioma cancer centers in the country to offer the therapy.

The Moffitt Cancer Center research team is harvesting special immune cells, called TIL or tumor infiltrating lymphocytes, from patients’ tumors. TIL cells are grown and amplified in the lab and reinjected into the patient to attack tumors. Preliminary results have been very encouraging.
Dr. Jacques Fontaine
Thoracic Surgeon for Mesothelioma

Research and Clinical Trials in Florida

Florida is home to innovative clinical trials and research for mesothelioma.

Moffitt Cancer Center is running a phase II clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of multimodal therapy. It studies pleurectomy and decortication surgery, chemotherapy and intensity-modulated radiation therapy.

The University of Miami Hospital is participating in a phase II clinical trial of Imfinzi (durvalumab). The study combines it with standard chemotherapy for mesothelioma. Researchers are testing to see if it improves overall survival in patients.

Multiple cancer centers throughout Florida are participating in a phase II clinical trial of immunotherapy drugs. Opdivo (nivolumab) and Yervoy (ipilimumab) continue to show benefits in the treatment of peritoneal mesothelioma.

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Cancer Support Services in Florida

American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society’s cancer resource centers provide free wigs, hats, treatment information, support and more for patients diagnosed with cancer. The services available also include help finding emotional support networks and financial assistance.

Cancer Support Community

A service of Orlando Health, the Cancer Support Community at UF Health Cancer Center is open to any patient with cancer, as well as survivors and caregivers. The community uses integrative medical techniques that can manage symptoms, relieve stress and improve mental health. All members have access to nutritionists, counselors, pain specialists and palliative treatment consultations.

Gilda’s Club South Florida

Available in Fort Lauderdale and other off-site locations in nearby communities, Gilda’s Club provides innovative programs for anyone affected by cancer. Services include support groups, healthy living workshops, social gatherings and financial support. Professionals lead an array of seminars, and the organization prides itself on building a strong community in South Florida.

Mesothelioma Survivors from Florida

Gene Hartline
Pleural Mesothelioma Survivor

When Gene Hartline was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma in July 2016, doctors told him there was little they could do for his advanced condition. His family couldn’t accept that prognosis, so they sought a second opinion not too far from their home in Lady Lake, Florida. Hartline did chemotherapy and decided to join an immunotherapy clinical trial testing Opdivo at the recommendation of his new doctor. Opdivo kept his cancer under control for nine months. “I would tell anyone who gets diagnosed with this disease, don’t just take the first advice you get and give up,” Hartline said. “Look around and see what is out there.”

Jack Riordan
Pleural Mesothelioma Survivor

Floridian Jack Riordan was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma in June 2014 and knew right away that he wanted to participate in a clinical trial. He has a strong belief clinical trials help others facing the diagnosis. After finishing chemotherapy, he joined an immunotherapy clinical trial in southwest Florida. “Without thinking twice, I’d recommend a clinical trial to most everyone. By taking part, maybe it will give doctors some information to help others in the future,” Riordan said.

Judy Goodson
Peritoneal Mesothelioma Survivor

Judy Goodson was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma in 2013 following treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. A CT scan revealed spots on her bladder, and doctors assumed it was a lymphoma metastasis. After the spots didn’t respond to chemotherapy and radiation, doctors performed a biopsy and found peritoneal mesothelioma. Goodson underwent cytoreductive surgery and two rounds of HIPEC with Dr. Sophie Dessureault at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa. “I believe with my heart that those that survive are warriors,” Goodson said. “I often joke with my friends that mesothelioma whispered in my ear, ‘You can’t handle me.’ And I told mesothelioma, no, you can’t handle me.”

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