Medically Reviewed By
Karen Ritter, RN BSN
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Why Do Patients Need Mesothelioma Specialists?
Cancer patients know they need to consult with a surgeon or oncologist once diagnosed. However, not all doctors are qualified to handle mesothelioma. Finding a medical team that specializes in mesothelioma is the most important decision a patient can make.
These specialists know about the newest, most promising treatment options for the best prognosis possible. Find a mesothelioma specialist who is right for you with our free Doctor Match program.
What Mesothelioma Specialists Offer
Top Cancer Centers
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Moffitt Cancer Center
UCLA Medical Center
Los Angeles, CA
Why Experience Matters
Mesothelioma specialists have extensive experience in identifying the different mesothelioma cell types, can provide a broad range of mesothelioma surgical options, and will be able to offer an individualized treatment plan to get the best possible outcomes. There are many factors contributing to a mesothelioma specialist’s ability to treat the disease effectively.
Specific Mesothelioma Types
Mesothelioma occurs in the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart. Having a doctor who specializes in the patient’s specific diagnosis is very important. Some specialists focus on pleural mesothelioma, while others specialize in peritoneal mesothelioma. Finding a mesothelioma specialist is not a one-size-fits-all choice; the selection needs to be based on the patient’s individualized needs.
Years in Practice
When it comes to caring for patients with mesothelioma, experience counts. Mesothelioma is a rare cancer with unique challenges. Seasoned specialists with years of experience know what to expect and how to treat it effectively..
It’s an advantage for patients to be treated by a team of medical professionals who are all working together towards a common goal. Receiving treatment at a cancer center capable of performing all disciplines of treatment in one location can provide better communication between physicians and patients. It also provides patients with an expert panel of doctors who are able to create a treatment plan that incorporates multidisciplinary care to improve their mesothelioma prognosis.
Treatment for Different Stages
Mesothelioma specialists are able to develop personalized treatment plans for every cancer stage. Each physician brings their expertise to the team: providing aggressive surgical options, selecting the most appropriate oncology treatments, and offering radiation therapy or performing pain relief measures to maintain the patient’s quality of life. What a patient needs is a team of physicians who can do all of the above comfortably and have experience with their unique diagnosis.
There are a wide variety of surgical options for mesothelioma patients: extrapleural pneumonectomy, pleurectomy and decortication, and cytoreduction with heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy. Not every specialist has experience in all areas, so it is crucial to find a specialist with the experience for your specific diagnosis.
Due to the nature of mesothelioma, treatment plans often require some adjustment. Specialists are able to monitor improvement and effectiveness and then prescribe new treatment if necessary. Patients should seek specialists who are experienced at monitoring and adjusting their treatment plans.
Benefits of a Specialist
Choosing a specialist who can cater to a patient’s specific type and location of mesothelioma is important. A patient should be comfortable communicating with their doctor.
Many specialists are well-connected with the clinical trial community and can assist patients in finding the most suitable trials for their specific diagnosis. Admittance into clinical trials is a great way to receive cutting edge treatments. Mesothelioma specialists can be a gateway to these important options as they are often the overseeing physicians in these trials.
Great health care is not all science; it’s also an art. For some patients, having a specialist who can provide trust and emotional support is extremely important. Many patients prefer doctors who help them understand what they are going through – doctors who have the hands of a surgeon and the heart of a friend.
Mesothelioma treatment can be very expensive, and for that reason, finding a specialist who works at a cancer center that accepts a patient’s insurance is critical. Financial aid options that go beyond the cost of treatment may also be available. Due to routine changes in health care laws, patients should be aware of any new health care coverage or low-cost insurance plans that might be available.
Location and Ease of Travel
Many people need to travel across the country to see a top specialist for mesothelioma. There are very few treatment programs at cancer centers dedicated to mesothelioma, so travel is something to consider when looking for cutting edge opportunities. Certain programs provide discounted lodging for the patient and their families while seeing a specialist or receiving treatments.
Doctor Match Program
We use these factors to accurately match you with top mesothelioma doctors.
Including Cell Type
Types of Specialists
- General Physician – Often a family doctor, perform detailed evaluations, order tests and imaging studies (such as X-rays) to help determine the cause of symptoms
- Radiologist – Focus on imaging technologies (X-ray, CT scan, and PET scan) used in the diagnosis of diseasee
- Surgeon – Perform surgical biopsies which are sent to a pathologist for review (a thoracic surgeons perform pleural biopsies and a general surgeons perform peritoneal biopsies)
- Pathologist – Evaluate fluid or tissue biopsy samples under a microscope to determine a diagnosis and cell types
- Pulmonologist – Specialize in the function of the lungs and respiratory diseases
- Gastroenterologist – Specialize in diseases of the digestive system and the abdomen
- Cardiologist – Specialize in the function of the heart and disorders of the heart
- Medical Oncologist – Prescribe treatments to fight cancer
- Thoracic Surgeon – Perform invasive procedures and surgery on the chest cavity and lungs – removing fluid, tumors and cancer cells (thoracic surgeons can treat pleural mesothelioma)
- Surgical Oncologist – Perform surgery on areas of the body affected by cancer (including the abdomen) to surgically remove tumors, diseased tissue and cancer cells (surgical oncologists can treat peritoneal mesothelioma)
- Radiation Oncologist – Perform radiation therapy to fight cancer
- Respiratory Therapist – Support respiratory function and recovery following procedures and surgery to improve and ease breathing
- Palliative Care Specialist – Provide treatments related to symptom relief, pain management, and general well-being
- Psychologist – Provide treatment for the patient’s emotional needs, including counseling for patients and their families
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