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More About Mesothelioma Treatment at Swedish Cancer Center
Dr. Adam Bograd is becoming the head of thoracic surgical oncology at the Swedish Cancer Institute. Another specialist at the center is Dr. Eric Vallieres. Both perform surgery for malignant pleural mesothelioma. They see around a dozen cases of mesothelioma each year. Approximately half are operable.
This cancer center is part of Swedish Health Services, which is at times referred to simply as “Swedish.”
“My goal is to have a well-rounded program here. We’re not going to open 50 trials but I want a well-rounded program that has care for any type of patient,” Dr. Bograd said of the Swedish Cancer Institute, noting he wants to help both resectable and unresectable cases, provide neoadjuvant and adjuvant treatment, and ensure he and the team are considering all levels of care.
- Dr. Adam Bograd, head of thoracic surgical oncology
- Dr. Eric Vallieres, thoracic surgeon
- Dr. Sara Grethlein, medical oncologist
- Dr. Vivek Mehta, radiation oncologist
- Swedish Medical Services
- Pleurectomy/decortication surgery
- Extrapleural pneumonectomy surgery
- Radiation therapy (IMRT)
- Tumor treating fields therapy
Get Connected to Swedish Cancer Institute
Patients can easily connect with the doctors at the Swedish Cancer Institute. This center is based in Seattle, Washington, which is located conveniently for anyone in the Pacific Northwest. Two specialists work at this hospital and can perform surgery.
Why Choose Swedish Cancer Institute?
- Two specialists on staff for surgery consultations
- Clinical trial with radiation after surgery
- Multiple therapy options for unresectable cases
Protocol for Performing Surgery
Dr. Bograd is becoming the leader of the Swedish Cancer Institute’s thoracic program. He’s experienced in pleurectomy/decortication surgery and extrapleural pneumonectomy surgery. Extrapleural pneumonectomy removes a lung while pleurectomy/decortication does not.
He prefers extended pleurectomy/decortication for pleural mesothelioma. This operation removes the pleural lining, plus the diaphragm and pericardium if needed. The diaphragm is frequently removed, at least in part, while the pericardium can be spared for some cases.
Testing IMRT After Surgery
Adjuvant treatment may include chemotherapy or immunotherapy. Swedish Cancer Institute is hosting an innovative clinical trial using radiation therapy after P/D surgery. Dr. Bograd said the cancer center has one patient already enrolled in the trial and might get a second one.
This is where radiation therapy comes in. Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) can irradiate any tumors not removed from pleurectomy/decortication. Dr. Bograd and the Swedish Cancer Institute team use IMRT on the same side of the chest as P/D is performed.
- Not listed in the U.S. News & World Report 2023-2024 Hospitals Honor Roll
- Ranked as a top center in Seattle
Belief in Immunotherapy
Dr. Bograd said immunotherapy is “where everything is going” for mesothelioma treatment — and care for other cancers.
“I think that’s what the data shows,” he said.
The Swedish Cancer Institute team doesn’t operate on sarcomatoid histologies but will consider biphasic cases depending on the pathology report. If the pathology report notes the cancer has mostly epithelioid cells, then resection is the best option.
For sarcomatoid cases, immunotherapy seems like the best option. Dr. Bograd mentioned a recent study reporting a nearly double in survival average:
- 17 months with immunotherapy
- 9 months with chemotherapy
Importance of Finding a Specialist for Care
Dr. Bograd strongly believes in relying on a mesothelioma specialist for treatment. Many patients go to a local oncologist and don’t receive the surgical consultation they should get. These oncologists, who aren’t experienced with mesothelioma cases, aren’t qualified to make decisions about treatment.
“I think there are a lot of cases where the patient isn’t resectable, but there are also a lot where they could have surgery,” Dr. Bograd said. “I think these patients should be referred to a specialist. I don’t think they should have their treatment plan determined by someone who sees one case a year.”
We can help you find the specialist you need for treatment. Our registered nurse, Karen Ritter, is a patient advocate for people affected by mesothelioma. She works with patients, families and doctors to provide avenues to medical care from the top mesothelioma cancer cancers.
She can put you in contact with the team at the Swedish Cancer Institute. Email Karen at email@example.com. You can also request her recommendations for cancer centers by clicking the link and filling out the form with your diagnosis information.
Sources & Author
- Adam J. Bograd, M.D. Swedish. Retrieved from: https://www.swedish.org/doctors/thoracic-surgery/wa/seattle/adam-bograd-1245406909. Accessed: 08/02/2023.
- Sara J. Grethlein, M.D., MBA, FACP. Swedish. Retrieved from: https://www.swedish.org/doctors/hematology-oncology/wa/seattle/sara-grethlein-1326083445. Accessed: 08/02/2023.
- Eric Vallieres, M.D. Swedish. Retrieved from: https://www.swedish.org/doctors/thoracic-surgical-oncology/wa/seattle/eric-vallieres-1881750743. Accessed: 08/02/2023.
- Swedish Medical Center-Cherry Hill. U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved from: https://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals/area/wa/swedish-medical-center-cherry-hill-6910680. Accessed: 10/28/2021.