University of California San Diego Health
3855 Health Sciences Drive, La Jolla, California 92037
University of California San Diego Health is one of the top cancer centers along the West Coast. The hospital includes Moores Cancer Center, which has a top-rated HIPEC program for peritoneal mesothelioma. The cancer center also has an experienced surgeon for abdominal diseases.
University of California San Diego Health
3855 Health Sciences Drive
La Jolla, California
Dr. Joel Baumgartner
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More About Mesothelioma Treatment at University of California San Diego Health
University of California San Diego Health, also called UC San Diego Health, is affiliated with a leading cancer center. Moores Cancer Center treats patients with malignant peritoneal mesothelioma. The goal is to provide aggressive surgery to drastically improve survival times.
Moores Cancer Center is recognized as an elite institution with designation from the National Cancer Institute. Only a select few cancer centers are NCI-designated. Moores Cancer Center is proudly on the list.
Dr. Joel Baumgartner is the primary surgical oncologist for the cancer center’s HIPEC program. This is one of the top HIPEC treatment facilities along the western coast of the United States.
- Dr. Joel Baumgartner, surgical oncologist
- Dr. Lyudmila Bazhenova, medical oncologist
- University of California San Diego
- Moores Cancer Center
- Cytoreductive or debulking surgery
- Heated intraoperative chemotherapy
Get Connected to UC San Diego Health
UC San Diego Health has one of the top HIPEC treatment centers in the country. Moores Cancer Center, home to the HIPEC team, is in La Jolla, California, which is minutes from downtown San Diego. The cancer center treats a handful of peritoneal mesothelioma cases each year.
Why Choose UC San Diego Health?
- Highly respected specialist open to new therapies
- HIPEC treatment program for peritoneal mesothelioma
- High-volume center in a major metropolitan area
UC San Diego Health’s Approach to Treatment
HIPEC and cytoreductive surgery is the cornerstone of UC San Diego Health’s care for peritoneal mesothelioma patients. HIPEC, or hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy, sends liquid chemotherapy into the abdominal cavity immediately after doctors remove large sections of diseased tissue.
Moores Cancer Center delivers cisplatin and doxorubicin into the abdominal cavity during HIPEC treatment, although the medications may vary.
The selection process for surgery is crucial. Since the surgery is aggressive and radical, some patients aren’t eligible. However, the team at UC San Diego will consider some of the mesothelioma cell types often disregarded for surgery.
Multidisciplinary Team of Medical Professionals
Aside from Dr. Baumgartner, the peritoneal malignancies team includes experts in different aspects of treatment. The surgeon works closely with medical oncologists and pathologists. The primary medical oncologist for peritoneal mesothelioma is Dr. Lyudmila Bazhenova. Others are:
- Radiation oncologists
- Nurse practitioners
- Residents, fellows and UC San Diego students
There’s also a clinical trials office for interested patients. UC San Diego is home to many new therapies being tested for different cancers. It has participated in a lot of clinical trials for mesothelioma.
Dr. Baumgartner said few cancer centers along the Pacific Coast have the resources to treat peritoneal malignancies like peritoneal mesothelioma. Few cancer centers use HIPEC, which is why Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health has a high volume of patients.
Using Immunotherapy as an Alternative to Chemotherapy
Mesothelioma immunotherapy is an option at UC San Diego Health for patients, usually as a second- or third-line option. Dr. Baumgartner believes “there is a future” for the therapy, although “data is sparse at best.”
Dr. Baumgartner and the team recommend immunotherapy after surgery. These cases usually involve a postoperative recurrence, when a second surgery may not be safe or effective.
The team recommends chemotherapy first for unresectable cases. Immunotherapy is the next option, as it causes “much less toxicity” compared to intravenous chemotherapy. For systemic therapy like chemotherapy or immunotherapy, most patients are able to receive it at their local hospital.
“Most of our patients’ medical oncologists live somewhere else,” he said. “A few patients have gotten systemic therapy here at UCSD. Most get it closer to home.”
- Ranked 20th for cancer treatment in the U.S. News & World Report 2022-2023 hospital rankings
- Ranked 11th in gastrointestinal cancer surgery
- Ranked 10th in lung cancer surgery
- Ranked 5th in California
- Ranked 1st in San Diego
Housing Options for Out-of-Area Patients
UC San Diego Health sees patients from all across the country. Even many regional patients from California choose to fly to San Diego to receive treatment at Moores Cancer Center.
“Most patients are from out of town,” Dr. Baumgartner said. “The family needs to stay somewhere in town so there are options for that.”
Since there are so many long-distance cases, UC San Diego Health offers housing to patients and families through the Bannister Family House. This option is available to patients and their families.
Bannister Family House
The Bannister Family House program started in 1994. Ralph Bannister donated money to fund the initiative. When his wife and daughter were sick and at UC San Diego Health, he saw families sleeping on cold hospital floors.
Bannister Family House provides:
- 12 hotel-style rooms
- Community kitchen and dining room
- Laundry facility
- Television room
- Part-time housekeeper
This option is crucial for the families of people needing cytoreductive surgery/HIPEC. Preoperative care begins a few days before surgery, the procedure takes a day, and recovery lasts at least 10 days.
UC San Diego Health welcomes patients from anywhere in the United States. Dr. Baumgartner sees a high volume of peritoneal mesothelioma cases, and he can provide a surgical consultation virtually to begin the treatment process. Send us your information to begin finding a cancer center for mesothelioma or email registered nurse Karen Ritter directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sources & Author
- Joel M. Baumgartner, MD. UC San Diego Health. Retrieved from: https://providers.ucsd.edu/details/12183/surgery-cancer. Accessed: 08/31/2021.
- UC San Diego Health-Jacobs Medical Center. U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved from: https://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals/area/ca/uc-san-diego-medical-center-6932820. Accessed: 09/15/2021.
- Bannister Family House. UC San Diego Health. Retrieved from: https://health.ucsd.edu/patients/family-houses/bannister/pages/default.aspx. Accessed: 09/15/2021.