Written by Karen Selby, RN | Edited By Walter Pacheco

Top Illinois Mesothelioma Cancer Centers

University of Chicago Cancer Center

UChicago Medicine

5841 S Maryland Ave, Chicago, IL 60637

Year Built: 1927
Number of Beds: 532 beds in the Medical Center
Number of Physicians: 7

Chicago: A Hub for Mesothelioma Treatment

Many mesothelioma patients in Illinois visit Loyola University Medical Center. This hospital is just west of Chicago. Here, they receive multidisciplinary care from a team of mesothelioma experts. The center also offers mesothelioma clinical trials and conducts immunotherapy research.

Patients also visit the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center. This center expanded to the Great Lakes Region in 2022. Patients can access clinical trials and some of the nation’s top mesothelioma doctors. Research conducted here has led to new standards of care for mesothelioma. It is now one of the best mesothelioma research centers in the world.

Illinois residents may need financial assistance to afford medical care. Mesothelioma treatments are costly. Patients should consider speaking with an Illinois mesothelioma lawyer. They can learn more about their legal options for compensation. Illinois companies that made asbestos products may be liable for your asbestos exposure. A lawyer can secure funds to pay for medical expenses related to your diagnosis.

Mesothelioma Specialists in Illinois

Pleural mesothelioma patients in Illinois who qualify for surgery may work with Dr. Wickii Vigneswaran. He is a thoracic surgeon at Loyola with more than 30 years of experience treating mesothelioma.

Vigneswaran is an expert in robotic surgery. This procedure reduces complications and shortens recovery time for patients.

Peritoneal and pleural mesothelioma patients see Dr. Hedy Kindler at the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center. She serves as the mesothelioma program’s director and gastrointestinal oncology’s medical director. Kindler understands her patients in a way that most doctors can’t. She lost her father to mesothelioma.

Top Illinois Mesothelioma Doctors

Dr. Wickii Thambiah Vigneswaran, pleural mesothelioma surgeon

Maywood, Illinois

Wickii Thambiah Vigneswaran

Pleural Specialist | Thoracic Surgery

Expertise: Thoracic Surgery Mesothelioma Lung and Lung/Heart Transplantations Pleurectomy and Decortication Robotic Surgery

Languages: English, Tamil

Dr. Hedy Lee Kindler, pleural mesothelioma doctor

Chicago, Illinois

Hedy Lee Kindler

Peritoneal Specialist | Gastrointestinal Oncology

Expertise: Immunotherapy Research

Languages: English

Pioneering Mesothelioma Chemotherapy Research in Illinois

Illinois ranks No. 7 in the nation for mesothelioma and asbestosis deaths. A long history of industrial work largely causes the state’s high ranking.

Many workers were exposed to asbestos products used in factories, manufacturing plants and mills. Others were exposed to asbestos in power plants and other industrial settings.

The state has allocated resources to meet the medical needs of asbestos workers. It has some of the world’s best mesothelioma treatment centers and research facilities.

For example, the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center has conducted clinical trials. These trials have revolutionized chemotherapy for mesothelioma. One trial led to U.S. Food and Drug Administration approvals for cisplatin and Alimta (pemetrexed). This is now the standard-of-care chemotherapy combination for mesothelioma treatment.

Mesothelioma Clinical Trials in Illinois

Illinois is home to some of the world’s best research facilities and innovative mesothelioma clinical trials. Research conducted in the state has led to significant breakthroughs in mesothelioma treatment.

A number of mesothelioma clinical trials are currently recruiting participants in Illinois.

  • A phase II clinical trial of the immunotherapy drugs Yervoy (ipilimumab) and Opdivo (nivolumab) is enrolling patients with peritoneal mesothelioma. This trial is available at numerous hospitals and medical facilities throughout Illinois.
  • The University of Chicago is participating in a phase II and phase III clinical trial of a new drug called ADI-PEG 20 in combination with chemotherapy. This is a randomized trial that includes a placebo group, which means some patients will receive chemotherapy and a placebo instead of the new drug.
  • More than 30 locations in Illinois are participating in a phase I clinical trial testing the efficacy of an immunotherapy drug in combination with chemotherapy, surgery and radiation in patients with stage 1, stage 2 or stage 3 pleural mesothelioma. The immunotherapy drug is a monoclonal antibody called Tecentriq (atezolizumab), which researchers hope will attack any remaining cancer cells after surgery.

Cancer Support Services in Illinois

Firefighter Cancer Support Network

Firefighters are one of the many professions at risk for asbestos exposure and mesothelioma. Firefighter Cancer Support Network offers firefighters and their families assistance after a cancer diagnosis. Patients can expect one-on-one support from fellow firefighters and receive help with testing and treatment processes.

Finding Hope Support Group

Located at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield, this group meets to address the emotional and psychological toll of a cancer diagnosis. Finding Hope focuses on improving health and wellness through cancer education and community development.

Imerman Angels

West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park provides support services through Imerman Angels, a group dedicated to one-on-one counseling with cancer patients. Through a unique matching process, Imerman Angels connects patients with someone who has faced the same type of cancer.

Mesothelioma Survivors from Illinois

F.X. Dickert
Peritoneal Mesothelioma Survivor

When F.X. Dickert was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma in 2015, he decided to undergo cytoreductive surgery with heated chemotherapy. Unfortunately, the cancer came back and he underwent the same procedure two more times within several years. Each procedure helped control the cancer for a period of time. In 2017, his surgeon referred him to Kindler, who recommended an immunotherapy clinical trial at the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center to keep the cancer in control. “I’m already supposed to be dead, according to the doctors who I saw first, but I’ve still got a long list of things to do yet,” Dickert said. “I’ve got people to see, places to go. My glass is always half full. That’s not going to stop now.”

Kathy Angerman
Pleural Mesothelioma Survivor

Kathy Angerman was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma in 2010 and underwent a pleurectomy and decortication surgery. The procedure successfully controlled her cancer for several years until it returned in 2013. She decided to join an immunotherapy clinical trial at the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center, and it controlled her cancer growth for six months. When the cancer returned, she went back on chemotherapy. “I’m a walking miracle,” Angerman said. “We all know mesothelioma doesn’t stop by itself, and that chemotherapy only does so much for so long. So there’s really no other way to explain what has happened, except that God has been good to me.”

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