Most mesothelioma cancer centers in the United States are cluttered in the Northeast and West Coast regions. Therefore, patients in the Southeast may have to travel long distances for treatment.
Fortunately, there’s a new option in Florida headed by an esteemed mesothelioma doctor.
Mesothelioma specialist Dr. Marcelo DaSilva moved to Orlando, Florida, at the end of 2019 to join the Advent Health staff as chief of thoracic surgery. He will lead the medical group’s new mesothelioma department after building a 25-year career as a medical professional.
Dr. DaSilva joined the latest Mesothelioma Guide podcast to discuss the new mesothelioma program at Advent Health. Among the topics discussed were his goals for the Advent Health mesothelioma program, how he can help Florida patients and his career to this point.
“When I was looking at opportunities to move down and create a thoracic/lung institute, I thought there really isn’t a robust multidisciplinary program in Central Florida,” Dr. Marcelo DaSilva told Mesothelioma Guide in a recent interview.
“There are a few highly skilled, highly qualified surgeons — and I probably know all of them — but they’re not within a robust program.”
Dr. DaSilva moves to Florida after working on the Brigham and Women’s Hospital mesothelioma team as a thoracic surgeon. He has worked alongside numerous reputable mesothelioma specialists, including Dr. Avi Lebenthal, Dr. Raphael Bueno and even the late Dr. David Sugarbaker. He previously was the chief of thoracic surgery at Loyola University Chicago and chief of thoracic surgery at Harvard University.
Dr. DaSilva has the rare ability to treat both pleural mesothelioma and peritoneal mesothelioma. Few doctors for this cancer have extensive knowledge treating both types. Dr. DaSilva’s surgical experience includes:
- Extrapleural pneumonectomy (pleural mesothelioma surgery)
- Pleurectomy with decortication (pleural mesothelioma surgery)
- Cytoreduction with HIPEC (peritoneal mesothelioma surgery)
- Heated intraoperative chemotherapy
Peritoneal mesothelioma develops in the narrow cavity surrounding the abdomen. Pleural mesothelioma originates in the thin lining between the lungs and chest wall.
“At Brigham and Women’s Hospital, we created the abdominal peritoneal mesothelioma program five years ago,” Dr. DaSilva said. “It was very successful. … I’ve talked to one of the surgeons here (at Advent Health), and he is willing to be my partner in peritoneal mesothelioma. So my program will tackle both: abdominal peritoneal mesothelioma and thoracic pleural mesothelioma.”
Around 3,300 Americans each year are diagnosed with mesothelioma. A significant percentage of those people live in Florida and the Southeast region of the United States.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 231 mesothelioma cases in Florida reported in 2016. In neighboring states (Alabama and Georgia), there were 99 cases.
However, few cancer centers in these states offer mesothelioma treatment, which means the patients living in or near Florida have limited options: travel a far distance to receive high-quality treatment; or settle with local doctors who have little experience diagnosing and treating this cancer.
“Look, when someone gets sick, they want to stay close to home,” Dr. DaSilva said on the podcast. “They want their family to come and visit. They want to stay connected to their family, community and church.
“I think (we are) creating something in Central Florida that not only allows people to be treated with the best multidisciplinary team but also stay close to home.”
If you have mesothelioma and live in Florida, Georgia, Alabama or another Southeast state, contact our patient advocate team to learn more about Dr. DaSilva. Our registered nurse Karen Ritter is reachable via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and can help you connect with Dr. DaSilva or another mesothelioma specialist in the region.
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