MesotheliomaGuide https://www.mesotheliomaguide.com Let us be your guide Thu, 19 Jul 2018 01:21:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://www.mesotheliomaguide.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/cropped-amp_logov2-32x32.png MesotheliomaGuide https://www.mesotheliomaguide.com 32 32 Immunotherapy Trials Take Big Steps for Mesothelioma Treatment https://www.mesotheliomaguide.com/community/immunotherapy-trials-take-big-steps-for-mesothelioma-treatment/ https://www.mesotheliomaguide.com/community/immunotherapy-trials-take-big-steps-for-mesothelioma-treatment/#respond Thu, 12 Jul 2018 15:17:43 +0000 https://www.mesotheliomaguide.com/?p=14120 DREAM Clinical Trial Produces Encouraging Results A clinical trial hosted in Australia may have victorious results in treating pleural mesothelioma. However, researchers agree that more testing needs to occur. During the study, 54 patients were recruited. They were treated with first-line chemotherapy (cisplatin and pemetrexed) and the immunotherapy drug durvalumab. For up to six treatment […]

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DREAM Clinical Trial Produces Encouraging Results

A clinical trial hosted in Australia may have victorious results in treating pleural mesothelioma. However, researchers agree that more testing needs to occur.

During the study, 54 patients were recruited. They were treated with first-line chemotherapy (cisplatin and pemetrexed) and the immunotherapy drug durvalumab.

For up to six treatment cycles, participants received chemotherapy and durvalumab. Patients continued receiving durvalumab on its own until they completed 12 months of treatment or their mesothelioma progressed.

clipboard iconPresently, researchers are pleased with their results. They discovered that the addition of durvalumab with cisplatin and pemetrexed worked better than chemotherapy on its own. Not only did patients tolerate the drug combination, but 71% experienced a progression-free survival rate at six months.

Later this year researchers will release their finalized report.

Using Immunotherapy to Treat Mesothelioma

There is one treatment that is changing the way that mesothelioma patients combat their disease. That treatment is immunotherapy.

Currently, this treatment option is still considered an experimental approach to treating mesothelioma. The only way a patient can experience it is by enrolling in a clinical trial or on a compassionate care basis.

Immunotherapy cancer drugs are designed to use a patient’s immune system to help combat their disease. It is a form of targeted therapy that avoids a patient’s healthy cells and zones in on attacking only their cancerous mesothelioma cells.

Learn more about how immunotherapy works in our short video:

Several mesothelioma patients, especially late stage, have had positive treatment experiences. Immunotherapy has fewer side effects, and it has exhibited signs of slowing down and managing a patient’s disease.

U.S. Clinical Trial Results TBA

In the United States, a clinical trial similar to DREAM is presently active in 20 different locations. 55 participants are currently enrolled. The study started in 2017 and anticipates to have results by 2020.

Patients enrolled in this trial have been diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. These individuals are also not surgical candidates that can experience procedures like EPP or P/D.

Dr. Patrick FordeThe goal of this phase II study is similar to the Australian clinical trial. Researchers hope to have the same success in pairing durvalumab with standard chemotherapy and improve a patient’s overall survival.

Primary investigator of the trial is Dr. Patrick Forde. He is a well-respected name in the mesothelioma community. Dr. Forde is active in both researching and treating patients at the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center in Maryland.

Immunotherapy for Mesothelioma at Johns Hopkins

Johns Hopkins is home to the Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy (BKI). The institute was established in 2016. However, medical experts at Johns Hopkins have been actively involved in pioneering immunotherapy drugs for almost 30 years.

“Immunotherapy is a game changer. We believe that a patient’s own immune system can ultimately beat any cancer,” states the official website for BKI.

Image of Nurse Jenna.For more information about immunotherapy treatment, clinical trials, and John Hopkins, please contact Jenna Campagna, RN. You may reach here by calling 888-385-2024 extension 102 or by emailing jenna@mesotheliomaguide.com.

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CARD Provides Screenings and Asbestos-Related Care to Patients https://www.mesotheliomaguide.com/community/card-provides-screenings-and-asbestos-related-care-to-patients/ https://www.mesotheliomaguide.com/community/card-provides-screenings-and-asbestos-related-care-to-patients/#respond Thu, 05 Jul 2018 17:56:50 +0000 https://www.mesotheliomaguide.com/?p=14100 Grant Renewed at CARD Clinic A $2.5 million grant has been awarded to the Center for Asbestos Related Disease (CARD). This clinic in Libby, Montana specializes in asbestos-related health care. CARD offers two screening programs to its community. Through a series of tests, individuals can be screened for asbestos diseases like mesothelioma and lung cancer. […]

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Grant Renewed at CARD Clinic

A $2.5 million grant has been awarded to the Center for Asbestos Related Disease (CARD). This clinic in Libby, Montana specializes in asbestos-related health care.

CARD offers two screening programs to its community. Through a series of tests, individuals can be screened for asbestos diseases like mesothelioma and lung cancer.

“Anybody who was in Libby for at least 6 months, at least 10 years ago qualifies for free screenings,” said Tracy McNew.

Tracy McNew is the Clinical & Research Manager at CARD Clinic. She says that the clinic has been receiving the same grant for eight years now.

“This money was written into the Affordable Care Act in 2010. As long as the ACA is around we should hopefully be able to apply for this grant, it should exist,” McNew stated.

CARD: Changing Lives of Libby Residents

Approximately 800 people are screened at the CARD Clinic each year. Patients typically experience chest x-rays and breathing tests.

People iconMany residents of Libby are diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma or asbestosis. This is due to an asbestos-contaminated vermiculite mine that has caused years of exposure to the town.

“Montana’s Lincoln County ranks third in the country for the counties with the highest mesothelioma death rate,” claims the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation.
To qualify for free screenings at the clinic, individuals must:
  • Not currently be diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease
  • Provide proof of residency in Lincoln County for a minimum of 6 months, at least 10 years ago
  • Fill out a screening application

The Center for Asbestos Related Disease is highly involved in improving the healthcare of its community. It is also actively involved in researching new ways to early detect, educate, treat, improve health outcomes, and prevent these incurable diseases.

The Town of Amphibole Asbestos

For the people of Libby, mining and milling at the vermiculite mine was a way of life. The mining site first opened in the 1920s and closed in 1990.

Amphibole IconVermiculite from the Libby mine was used to create construction materials, like insulation. When the contaminated ore was processed, it released tons of amphibole asbestos fibers into the air, which affected the whole town.

Several mine workers and their loved ones can recall the dust they couldn’t seem to get off them. Many experienced symptoms like coughing and shortness of breath. Unaware of what was really happening to them, locals started to refer to their symptoms as “The Dust Disease.”

“The highest occupational and environmental exposures to asbestos-contaminated vermiculite likely occurred from the 1950s to the 1970s,” revealed a study from NCBI.

W.R. Grace and Co. took over the mine in 1963 and knew of the ore contamination, but continued operating. Today, an asbestos trust fund has been created to help these victims.

In 2009, the EPA declared a Public Health Emergency for the town of Libby. The organization has participated in many residential and commercial cleanups. It has also helped with providing federal health care assistance to victims of asbestos-related diseases, like CARD.

Several mesothelioma warriors, including non blue collar workers, were exposed to asbestos in their workplace. Learn more about mesothelioma compensation that is available to help these individuals.

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New VA MISSION Act Supports Mesothelioma Veterans and Caregivers https://www.mesotheliomaguide.com/community/new-va-mission-act-supports-mesothelioma-veterans-and-caregivers/ Thu, 28 Jun 2018 14:29:42 +0000 https://www.mesotheliomaguide.com/?p=14061 President Donald Trump Signs VA MISSION Act Across the country, veterans combating mesothelioma and their caregivers are thankful for the VA MISSION Act of 2018. The bill was passed by Congress in May and signed by President Donald Trump on June 6. The new law has two areas of focus: The VA MISSION Act will […]

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President Donald Trump Signs VA MISSION Act

Across the country, veterans combating mesothelioma and their caregivers are thankful for the VA MISSION Act of 2018. The bill was passed by Congress in May and signed by President Donald Trump on June 6.

The new law has two areas of focus:

  • Improve the care and availability of health care to veterans
  • Provide caregiver assistance to veteran carers of all eras

The VA MISSION Act will create a permanent, new, and improved Veteran Community Care Program. This program will replace the Veteran Choice Program that was created in 2014. The law also expands the benefits of caregivers that weren’t covered under the VA’s Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers Program.

“If the VA can’t meet the needs of a veteran in a timely manner, that veteran will have the right to go right outside to a private doctor,” President Trump addressed. “This bill speeds up the claims process, increases the health services, expands access to walk-in clinics.”

What Does This Mean for Veterans?

Under the VA MISSION Act, veterans now have a choice. The men and women that once served our country can now gain access to medical treatment from either the VA or from a private provider.

“No one who defends our county in uniform should have to fight for their lives when they come back, when they come to their home,” President Trump stated.

The law also gets rid of the pre-existing requirements that a patient had to meet when accessing care. For example, a veteran could only receive community care if they lived more than 40 miles from a VA facility or they had waited more than 30 days for an appointment.

Veterans with mesothelioma will now have a chance to get connected to treatment options and specialists they might not have had access to before. If they cannot be seen by the VA in a suitable timeframe, they now have a right to take their prognosis into their own hands.

Helping Veteran Caregivers

Under the VA’s Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers Program, assistance was only available to caregivers of post-9/11 veterans. Under the VA MISSION Act, benefits and assistance will now be available to carers of veterans from all eras.

Prior to 2001, caregivers of veterans didn’t receive the same benefits. They weren’t eligible for cash stipends or medical benefits.

“In 2017, caregivers received between $7,800 and $30,000 a year,” according to AARP. “The stipends are not considered taxable income.”

People iconThe new VA MISSION Act will now provide all caregivers of veterans with mesothelioma these benefits. They will also receive training, respite care, and even have peer support available to them.

This new law will greatly help the carers of veterans with disabilities like mesothelioma. Many veterans develop asbestos-related diseases because they were exposed to asbestos fibers during their time in the military. For instance, World War II and Vietnam War veterans may have been exposed when buildings were destructed during combat.

Dr. Lebenthal: Changing Lives at Boston’s VA

Yearly in the United States, there are approximately 2,000 to 3,000 cases of mesothelioma diagnosed. Of those cases, one-third of patients are veterans.

There are more than 100 government hospitals and over 1,000 outpatient clinics that provide health care services to veterans. Unfortunately, there are only a few facilities that specialize in treating mesothelioma.

The VA Boston Health Care System provides hope to veterans that are diagnosed with this incurable disease. Veterans are seen in a timely manner, offered reduced or free lodging, and often reimbursed for their travel expenses.

“We are proud to offer 360-degree comprehensive care for all Veterans with mesothelioma before, during and after a potential surgery,” states the VA Boston Healthcare System section of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website.

Dr. Abraham LebenthalVA Boston is home to specialist Dr. “Avi” Lebenthal. He is recognized for treating veterans with pleural mesothelioma.

Dr. Lebenthal is one of the only mesothelioma specialists providing care in the VA system. He is also affiliated with Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Lebenthal trained under renowned specialist Dr. David Sugarbaker.

“When planned and executed precisely the ‘impossible’ becomes possible. As a nation, the most valuable resource we have is our people, morally and ethically we are obliged to provide them with the best possible care, especially our Veterans,” said Dr. Lebenthal.

Get connected to Dr. Abraham “Avi” Lebenthal by using our free Doctor Match Program.

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Right to Try May Open New Doors for Mesothelioma Treatment https://www.mesotheliomaguide.com/community/right-to-try-may-open-new-doors-for-mesothelioma-treatment/ Thu, 21 Jun 2018 18:27:13 +0000 https://www.mesotheliomaguide.com/?p=13998 New Law Provides Hope to Terminally Ill Patients President Trump gave his seal of approval by signing the Right to Try Act. This new law provides hope to mesothelioma warriors and thousands of other terminally ill Americans across the country. Under the Right to Try Act, patients will now have new opportunities for treatments that […]

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New Law Provides Hope to Terminally Ill Patients

President Trump gave his seal of approval by signing the Right to Try Act. This new law provides hope to mesothelioma warriors and thousands of other terminally ill Americans across the country.

Under the Right to Try Act, patients will now have new opportunities for treatments that may not have been an option before. Not only will this new law give mesothelioma patients access to investigational drugs, but it will also provide them with an opportunity to participate in clinical trials that they may not have been eligible for previously.

“Right To Try expands access to potentially life-saving treatments years before patients would normally be able to access them,” states the National Right to Try Movement website.

Understanding the Right to Try Act

President TrumpOn May 30th, President Trump made a milestone in healthcare. Previous attempts to pass laws similar to Right to Try have been challenged and voted against.

Right to Try will allow terminally ill patients to try medications that haven’t officially been released yet. These drugs have however been tested and approved by Phase 1 FDA studies.

During Phase 1 studies, the FDA tests the safety of investigational drugs and their dosing. Typically these types of trials consist of 20 to potentially 100 participants and last over a timespan of several months. Following the completion of the trial, investigational agents are either approved for Phase 2 studies or denied.

According to the FDA, “Approximately 70% of drugs move to the next phase.”

Keep in mind that is takes years for a medicine to officially be cleared by the FDA and for it to be available to the public. In some instances, it may take up to 10 years.

For a mesothelioma patient, time is of the essence. Unfortunately, this incurable cancer has an intimidating prognosis of 12 to 21 months. Research suggests that the one-year survival rate is about 40%.

Many mesothelioma warriors are defying the odds with the treatment options that are available to them, but once those treatment options have been taken, what’s next? The Right to Try Act is the answer patients and their loved ones have been searching for.

Mesothelioma Patients Have a Right-To-Try

Currently, there are 38 clinical trials listed by the National Cancer Institute that are recruiting malignant mesothelioma patients. Learn more about how you can get connected to these trials.

Many patients turn to clinical trials when looking for additional treatment methods. Sometimes trials are sought-after when a patient’s treatment options are limited. However, not every patient is an acceptable candidate.

An individual may be ineligible for a trial based on the stage or location of their mesothelioma. Other existing health problems or previous treatment attempts may prohibit them from participating. A patient’s age can even deny them access to a study that may be beneficial to combat their disease.

Under the new Right to Try law, a patient will have the right to have access to these investigational agents that they’ve been denied before – no matter what the circumstances once were. However, there is no promise that these Phase 1 medications will help improve or completely cure a patient.

Clinical trials make mesothelioma patients optimistic about the future. Individuals may experience treatment with new drugs or new methods of receiving radiation, chemotherapy, or multimodal therapy.

Many mesothelioma warriors are beyond thankful for clinical trials and investigational agents.

“I was fortunate to be accepted into a clinical trial and I believe it saved my life,” survivor Kendra Ferreira told Mesothelioma Guide.

Learn more about Kendra’s story and how other mesothelioma warriors are beating the odds in our free Mesothelioma Survivors Guide.

Two Sides to Every Healthcare Story

With the passing of Right to Try, there is some concern among pharmaceutical companies and medical physicians. However, under the new law, both parties are protected.

Medical experts fear that providing early access to unapproved drugs by the FDA may put a patient in more harm. There is also concern about there being a lack of knowledge about the safety and proper dosing of these experimental drugs.

“No person is going to be forced to take an investigational drug. No doctor is going to be forced to request an investigational drug, and no drug company is forced to provide an investigational drug, if they don’t think it’s the right fit for a patient,” supporter Starlee Coleman commented.

Though there is some speculation about giving patients the right-to-try, it is essential to understand that this law is designed specifically for individuals that are aware of the risks involved and are choosing to take them.

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Immuno-Oncology Trial Exhibits Positive Response for Mesothelioma https://www.mesotheliomaguide.com/community/immuno-oncology-trial-exhibits-positive-response-for-mesothelioma/ Thu, 14 Jun 2018 15:57:01 +0000 https://www.mesotheliomaguide.com/?p=13975 Treating Mesothelioma with Durvalumab and Tremelimumab A recent clinical trial sponsored by the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is providing hope to pleural mesothelioma patients. The goal of the study is to test the efficacy and safety of treating patients with two different immunotherapy drugs, tremelimumab and durvalumab. Both of these drugs have been used in previous […]

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Treating Mesothelioma with Durvalumab and Tremelimumab

A recent clinical trial sponsored by the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is providing hope to pleural mesothelioma patients. The goal of the study is to test the efficacy and safety of treating patients with two different immunotherapy drugs, tremelimumab and durvalumab.

  • Durvalumab – is an anti-PD-L1 monoclonal antibody. It is typically used to treat patients whose cancer hasn’t spread to nearby tissues or can’t be treated surgically, but didn’t get worse when treated with chemotherapy or radiation. Durvalumab works by helping the immune system to slow or prevent cancer cells from growing.
  • Tremelimumab – is an anti-CTLA4 monoclonal antibody. It works by blocking a receptor on immune cells that are normally suppressed.

Both of these drugs have been used in previous clinical trials to treat mesothelioma, but they’ve never been used together. This clinical trial will further investigate the effect that tremelimumab and durvalumab have on patients when paired together to combat mesothelioma.

Drug Combination Piques Interest in European Trial

Previously, this clinical trial occurred in Europe. European researchers studied the drug combination in 40 inoperable pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma patients.

All of the participants in the trial were able to complete at least one dose of the tremelimumab and durvalumab combination as first or second line therapy. The drug combination was given every four weeks for four cycles and then followed by nine cycles of maintenance durvalumab.

Highlights of the study included:

  • 55% of patients were free from progression at 6 months and 28% at 12 months
  • 63% of patients had disease control with a median overall survival of 16.6 months

The treatment drugs appeared safe, and patients seemed to have a positive response. Treatment-related toxicities were controllable in all but 3 participants.

“The availability of new checkpoint inhibitors and the interest of pharmaceutical companies in testing drugs for malignant pleural mesothelioma means that the future of these patients looks brighter than ever before,” the researchers from the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam commented at the end of the study.

The hopeful researchers concluded that more testing needs to be conducted using the drug combination as a treatment option for mesothelioma patients.

U.S. Clinical Trial Recruits Pleural Mesothelioma Patients

Researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute hope to see positive results just like the European clinical trial. Currently, the institution is openly-recruiting participants for their location in Boston, MA. This phase II trial anticipates being completed by 2024.

The study plans to enroll 40 patients. Enrollees must have unresectable or inoperable malignant pleural mesothelioma. They must have also had disease progression after receiving chemotherapy.

Individuals enrolled in the trial will receive durvalumab and tremelimumab by IV. They will receive both drugs once a day for 28-day cycles. Patients will receive tremelimumab for potentially up to 4 doses. On day one of cycle 5, they will continue taking durvalumab on its own until dismissed from the study.

Meet Mesothelioma Expert Dr. Awad

Mark Awad, photo from Brigham and Women's HospitalLead investigator of the study is Dr. Mark M. Awad. He is a medical oncologist at the Lowe Center for Thoracic Oncology located at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He is also an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Awad’s area of interest includes cancer immunotherapy and targeted therapy. He is actively involved in clinical trials and researching new methods of treating mesothelioma and lung cancer.

Image of Nurse Jenna.For more information about this clinical trial or other recruiting trials, please contact Jenna Campagna RN. You may reach out to her by emailing jenna@mesotheliomaguide.com or by calling 888-385-2024 extension 102.

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High-Volume Facilities Give Mesothelioma Patients Better Outcomes https://www.mesotheliomaguide.com/community/high-volume-facilities-give-mesothelioma-patients-better-outcomes/ Thu, 07 Jun 2018 14:37:02 +0000 https://www.mesotheliomaguide.com/?p=13940 Analyzing Pleural Mesothelioma Patients Postoperatively The National Cancer Database recently evaluated newly diagnosed non-metastatic pleural mesothelioma patients. During the study, the database analyzed the overall survival of patients by cancer facility volume. The investigation also took into perspective the well-being of patients after surgery. Evaluated pleural mesothelioma patients had either undergone an extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) […]

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Analyzing Pleural Mesothelioma Patients Postoperatively

The National Cancer Database recently evaluated newly diagnosed non-metastatic pleural mesothelioma patients. During the study, the database analyzed the overall survival of patients by cancer facility volume.

The investigation also took into perspective the well-being of patients after surgery. Evaluated pleural mesothelioma patients had either undergone an extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) or a pleurectomy/decortication (P/D).

1,307 patients were treated. 621 patients were treated in lower-volume facilities, and 686 patients were treated in high-volume facilities (HVFs).

75% of P/D operations and 25% of EPP procedures occurred at HVFs. Whereas, 84% of P/D operations and 16% of EPP procedures happened at lower-volume facilities.

While the overall survival added on 3 months, outcomes of individuals who received treatment at a high-volume facility experienced:

  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Lower hospital readmission rates
  • Lower mortality rates

Top 3 High-Volume Pleural Mesothelioma Treatment Centers

Receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis alters the lives of families across the globe. Every year in the United States 2,000 to 3,000 cases of this rare cancer occurs. Approximately 75% of these cases are pleural mesothelioma.

Research suggests that patients treated at high-volume facilities have a better outcome. At high-volume centers, physicians of all specialties weigh in on creating a patient’s treatment plan. The medical experts at high-volume treatment centers not only see more mesothelioma patients than other facilities, but they also have more experience in performing complex surgeries like the P/D and EPP.

The following 3 centers are known for being high-volume cancer centers specializing in successfully performing P/D and EPP to help improve a patient’s prognosis.

Image of Brigham and Women's HospitalBrigham and Women’s Hospital is home to the International Mesothelioma Program (IMP). IMP is composed of departments from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard School of Public Health.

The extrapleural pneumonectomy procedure was created and has been perfected by Brigham and Women’s mesothelioma surgeons. In addition to performing EPP surgeries, this hospital conducts a number of P/D procedures.

Brigham and Women’s also provides hope to patients through an abundance of clinical trial opportunities.

Every day the Brigham & Women’s Hospital makes great strides towards improving treatment options not only to pleural mesothelioma patients but to peritoneal mesothelioma patients as well. The facility is a place of residence to experts Dr. Bueno, Dr. Lebenthal, and Dr. DaSilva.

UCLA Medical CenterDr. Robert Cameron is changing the lives of pleural mesothelioma patients at the University of California Los Angeles Medical Center. He is widely recognized for developing the pleurectomy with decortication surgery.

Treatment at UCLA is focused on techniques that target only the patient’s tumor(s). The facility has perfected methods that keep a patient’s lungs, pericardium and diaphragm healthy.

Aside from surgery, specialists at UCLA are dedicated to researching and improving treatment options for mesothelioma using targeted and immunotherapies. The medical center has an area of expertise in treating all mesothelioma cells types.

Baylor Mesothelioma Treatment Center NightMesothelioma specialist Dr. David Sugarbaker leads the Mesothelioma Treatment Center (MTC) at Baylor. He is known for creating the EPP for pleural mesothelioma.

Patients at MTC experience an aggressive treatment and recovery plan. The crew at Baylor believe that multimodal treatment plans prevent a patient’s cancer from returning. Individuals may experience an EPP or the P/D, depending on the extent of their cancer.

Dr. Sugarbaker and his team also favor quick and safe recovery for their patients. In many circumstances, a patient will be walking not too long after they’ve had surgery.

Connecting Patients with Our Doctor Match Program

Since very few doctors know how to treat this rare cancer, it is important that an individual finds a mesothelioma specialist. An expert not only has an understanding of the cancer, but they have experience in treating it.

In this above study, researchers found that patients who received care at high-volume facilities experienced less complications. It may be necessary to travel to a cancer center to receive treatment. Our Doctor Match Program will provide you with resources for decreased lodging and other travel expenses.

It is important that patients know that they are not alone and that many survivors are rewriting statistics. At Mesothelioma Guide we can help you get connected to top specialists and cancer centers through our free Doctor Match Program.

Image of Nurse Jenna.For more information about high-volume facilities, specialists, and financial assistance, please contact Mesothelioma Guide’s patient advocate Jenna Campagna. You can reach her by calling 888-385-2024 extension 102 or by emailing jenna@mesotheliomaguide.com.

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Dr. Bhagwandin: Bringing HIPEC to Mesothelioma Patients in Florida https://www.mesotheliomaguide.com/community/dr-bhagwandin-bringing-hipec-to-mesothelioma-patients-in-florida/ Thu, 24 May 2018 14:00:55 +0000 https://www.mesotheliomaguide.com/?p=13925 Meet Peritoneal Specialist Dr. Bhagwandin Dr. Shanel Bhagwandin is changing the lives of patients with peritoneal malignancies, including mesothelioma. Dr. Bhagwandin is affiliated with the Mount Sinai Hospital Health System in New York. Recently, he has brought his experience in treating rare diseases to the Jupiter Medical Center located in Jupiter, Florida. This not-for-profit medical […]

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Meet Peritoneal Specialist Dr. Bhagwandin

Dr. Shanel Bhagwandin is changing the lives of patients with peritoneal malignancies, including mesothelioma. Dr. Bhagwandin is affiliated with the Mount Sinai Hospital Health System in New York.

Recently, he has brought his experience in treating rare diseases to the Jupiter Medical Center located in Jupiter, Florida. This not-for-profit medical center is recognized for its outstanding physicians and innovative techniques for treating patients.

“I came to Jupiter Medical Center because the hospital is committed to going above and beyond the scope of patient care,” Dr. Bhagwandin said.

Treating Peritoneal Mesothelioma with HIPEC

Dr. Shanel BhagwandinSometimes patients have to travel to receive treatment. Dr. Bhagwandin understands that this can be difficult. With this thought in mind, he has helped initiate a program at Jupiter Medical Center to treat peritoneal malignancies with hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC).

During HIPEC, a patient has heated chemotherapy washed around in their abdominal cavity. This procedure typically follows after the surgical removal of a patient’s tumors.

HIPEC allows mesothelioma specialists to treat a patient’s disease more aggressively. By applying a high dose of chemotherapy directly to the site of a patient’s cancer, experts believe that it helps reduce the risk of it recurring.

“I am the only board certified surgical oncologist in the Palm Beach County as well as other neighboring counties able to provide care for peritoneal mesothelioma and other peritoneal malignancies,” Dr. Bhagwandin stated.

The Power of a Second Opinion

Receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis can be hard to process for both patients and their loved ones.

“I firmly believe it’s important to take a step back, recognize there is a person in front of you, and address any obvious misconceptions before proceeding,” Dr. Bhagwandin explained.

Second opinions can change everything. Getting an opinion from a mesothelioma expert can open doors to treatment options patients may have been denied before.

Dr. Bhagwandin is a firm believer in second opinions. He consults with a number of medical experts to optimize treatment plans for his patients.

“I routinely provide my patients here in Florida with a ‘second opinion’ from other Mount Sinai- New York surgical oncologists, medical oncologists, and gastroenterologists without them having to leave the area,” Bhagwandin claimed.

In many circumstances, mesothelioma patients are misdiagnosed. Since this type of cancer is both rare and hard to diagnose, it is vital that patients seek a second opinion from a doctor that has experience treating the disease.

Training and Experience

Dr. Bhagwandin is a native of South Florida. He is beyond thankful to return to Palm Beach County and make a positive impact on the cancer community.

“I’m grateful to return home and not only provide care to patients who haven’t had access to it but to make an impact in the area where I grew up,” Bhagwandin commented.

Dr. Shanel Bhagwandin completed a fellowship in Complex General Cancer Surgical Oncology at Mount Sinai Hospital. After his fellowship, he joined Mount Sinai’s Division of Surgical Oncology.

At Mount Sinai, he received training from Dr. Umut Sarpel and Dr. Daniel Labow. Dr. Labow is known for establishing the HIPEC program at Mount Sinai. Additionally, Dr. Bhagwandin has been mentored by Dr. George Salti at the Edward Cancer Center.

“I’ve been able to participate in a number of cases for primary peritoneal malignancies as well as metastatic cases since 2013,” Dr. Bhagwandin said.

Image of Nurse Jenna.For more information about getting connected to Dr. Shanel Bhagwandin, please contact Jenna Campagna. You can reach her by calling 888-385-2024 extension 102 or by emailing jenna@mesotheliomaguide.com.

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New Support Group Created at Pacific Mesothelioma Center https://www.mesotheliomaguide.com/community/new-support-group-created-at-pacific-mesothelioma-center/ Thu, 17 May 2018 16:15:19 +0000 https://www.mesotheliomaguide.com/?p=13901 Pacific Mesothelioma Support Group Provides Hope The Pacific Mesothelioma Center recently introduced a new support group for patients. The group will strive to provide hope and assistance to mesothelioma warriors via a conference call once a month. The first telephone conference was held on May 9th. This new service is a part of the Pacific […]

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Pacific Mesothelioma Support Group Provides Hope

The Pacific Mesothelioma Center recently introduced a new support group for patients. The group will strive to provide hope and assistance to mesothelioma warriors via a conference call once a month. The first telephone conference was held on May 9th.

This new service is a part of the Pacific Heart, Lung, & Blood Institute, a non-profit medical research facility in California. Their mission is to bring about hope through research, education, and support.

Patients Connect and Share Their Stories

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer. Many patients may feel like they are alone in combatting their disease.

According to the National Cancer Institute, “In 2018, an estimated 1,735,350 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the United States.” Of those cases, 2,000 to 3,000 of them will be mesothelioma.

The new Pacific Mesothelioma Center support group creates an environment that allows patients to come together. Individuals are able to comfort and encourage each other by sharing their personal experiences throughout their medical journey.

Participants may talk openly about their treatment, side effects, and concerns. The group also gives individuals an opportunity to ask questions and to get answers.

Previously, the Pacific Heart, Lung & Blood Institute had a positive outcome with their caregiver’s group. In response to this success, the Pacific Mesothelioma Center created this new support group geared more towards patients.

Meet Mesothelioma Expert Lien Hua-Feng

Moderating the Pacific Mesothelioma Center support group is Lien Hua-Feng. She is a nurse practitioner at the Pacific Heart, Lung & Blood Institute.

Lien Hua-FengNurse Lien received her training in Ontario, Canada at the Queen’s University in Kingston. She obtained her Nurse Practitioner Certificate from the Western University of Health Sciences, located in Pomona, CA. Throughout her career, Lien has worked alongside mesothelioma specialist Dr. Robert Cameron.

Lien Hua-Feng also assists at the University of California Los Angeles and at the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Due to asbestos once being used freely in the military, the majority of mesothelioma victims are veterans. Learn more about how veterans are affected in our free Veterans Support Guide.

Lien has experience in caring for a variety of mesothelioma patients, including those that have undergone surgery. Nurse Lien’s expertise in nursing, thoracic medicine, and research makes her a strong support system for all patients that participate in the Pacific Mesothelioma Center service.

Get Connected to Mesothelioma Support Groups

Helpful tools like support groups give patients and caregivers an opportunity to connect with others. They create an understanding atmosphere that allows individuals to express themselves, ask questions, and to share their experiences.

Support groups are more than just the typical face-to-face experience that many hospitals offer. Today, patients and their loved ones can get the same type of support by participating in online groups or by telephone.

Image of Nurse Jenna.For more information about the Pacific Mesothelioma Center support group and other helpful resources, please contact Mesothelioma Guide’s patient advocate Jenna Campagna. You can reach her by calling 888-385-2024 extension 102 or by emailing jenna@mesotheliomaguide.com.

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Mesothelioma Specialists Help Patients in Latest CancerCare Workshop https://www.mesotheliomaguide.com/community/mesothelioma-specialists-help-patients-in-latest-cancercare-workshop/ Thu, 10 May 2018 14:00:11 +0000 https://www.mesotheliomaguide.com/?p=13856 Free CancerCare Service Focuses on Mesothelioma Treatment CancerCare collaborated with experts from the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation and other cancer organizations in their latest Connect Education Workshop. During the discussion, a panel of medical experts weighed in about the advancements in treatment for mesothelioma. For approximately an hour, mesothelioma specialists spoke about the disease and […]

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Free CancerCare Service Focuses on Mesothelioma Treatment

CancerCare collaborated with experts from the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation and other cancer organizations in their latest Connect Education Workshop. During the discussion, a panel of medical experts weighed in about the advancements in treatment for mesothelioma.

For approximately an hour, mesothelioma specialists spoke about the disease and treatment options that patients pursue. After the workshop ended, online and telephone participants were able to ask questions.

Mesothelioma Treatments Provide Hope

Among the panel of experts was mesothelioma specialist Dr. Hedy Lee Kindler. She is the Director of the Mesothelioma Program at the University of Chicago Medicine.

Photograph of Dr KindlerDr. Kindler is recognized for treating pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma patients. People travel from all over the world to seek her experience and guidance. In fact, at UChicago, she sees more than 100 mesothelioma cases in a year.

During the workshop, Dr. Kindler gave an overview of mesothelioma treatment. She expressed the need for patients to participate in multimodal therapy to prevent their disease from recurring.

As Dr. Kindler wrapped up her discussion, she spoke about how clinical trials are the future for treating mesothelioma. Some patients that participate in trials have improved their prognosis or have reached a state of remission.

“We will hopefully be able to individualize therapy in mesothelioma patients through something called precision medicine. Profile the tumors, so that we can identify the specific abnormalities and in the future be able to decide which treatment is the best for each patient,” Dr. Kindler stated.

Other Connect Education Workshop Highlights

Pulmonary Clinical Nurse Specialist Donna Wilson talked about how mesothelioma interferes with a patient’s physical activity and how she works to improve it. Donna is affiliated with the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

“Keep moving,” Donna said.

Sometimes treatment can cause a patient to become fatigued, limit their mobility, and affect their breathing. Donna spoke about the importance of breathing exercises and being active. She encouraged mesothelioma patients to move for at least 30 minutes a day.

Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation iconMelinda Kotzian was also on the panel. Melinda is the Chief Executive Officer of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation. She spoke on behalf of the free services and programs that her organization provides.

The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation helps patients and families in the United States and internationally. This nonprofit is also actively involved in funding research and providing financial aid to patients that need help traveling to seek mesothelioma treatment.

“Our goal is to really ensure that all patients regardless of their ability to pay are being seen by a mesothelioma specialist. We want to make sure that the cost of travel is not hindering them from seeing a specialist and getting the best treatment and care that they can,” Melinda commented.

Image of Nurse Jenna.For more information about other organizations that help mesothelioma warriors and their loved ones, please contact Mesothelioma Guide’s patient advocate, Jenna Campagna. You can reach her by emailing jenna@mesotheliomaguide.com or by calling 888-385-2024 extension 102.

“I don’t want anyone to think that you are alone in coping with mesothelioma. I know you may feel that way often because you may think that ‘I don’t know anyone with this disease,’ and we want you to feel like you are now apart of this support world,” concluded the workshop’s moderator Carolyn Messner.

Support from CancerCare

CancerCare was established in 1944. Today the nonprofit provides support to individuals and their loved ones that are impacted by cancer.

“Our programs and services helped 195,000 people affected by cancer, and we welcomed 2.1 million visits to our websites,” states the CancerCare website.

For free CancerCare helps people over the phone, internet, and face-to-face.

Some services offered by CancerCare are:
  • Counseling – help patients and their loved ones with their emotions, fears, and challenges surrounding their diagnosis. This service is available at the convenience of either calling or emailing CancerCare’s Hopeline.
  • Support Groups are available online, over the telephone, and in person. They help patients and their caregivers to connect with others who can relate to them.
  • Connection Education Workshops – are hosted by medical experts and cover a series of cancer-related topics. Workshops equip patients and their supporters with new information about their disease. They also give individuals an opportunity to ask questions and get answers.
“No matter where you are in the United States, CancerCare is here for you.”
– CEO Patricia Goldsmith

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ADAO Conference Highlights: Ban Asbestos and End Mesothelioma https://www.mesotheliomaguide.com/community/adao-conference-highlights-ban-asbestos-and-end-mesothelioma/ Thu, 26 Apr 2018 15:48:45 +0000 https://www.mesotheliomaguide.com/?p=13833 Conference Urges Asbestos to Be Banned The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) wrapped up its 14th Annual Asbestos Disease Awareness Conference earlier this month. Members of the community affected by asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma, banded together to share their stories and efforts made towards officially banning asbestos. During ADAO’s conference, new findings and stories were […]

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Conference Urges Asbestos to Be Banned

The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) wrapped up its 14th Annual Asbestos Disease Awareness Conference earlier this month. Members of the community affected by asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma, banded together to share their stories and efforts made towards officially banning asbestos.

During ADAO’s conference, new findings and stories were shared by researchers and speakers. For those that couldn’t make it to the conference, ADAO invited them to watch via live streaming.

“Our conference this year brought together asbestos researchers and ban advocates from across the globe all asking for the same thing: that we stop considering asbestos exposure acceptable,” stated ADAO’s President Linda Reinstein.

Asbestos-Related Deaths Are Rising

According to ADAO, there has been an increase in asbestos-related diseases. This evidence was revealed by Dr. Jukka Takala. Dr. Takala serves as the President of the International Commission on Occupational Health.

Dr. Takala’s research uncovered that “asbestos-related diseases cause 39,275 deaths in the United States annually—more than double the previous estimates of 15,000 per year. Specifically, asbestos leads to 34,270 lung cancer deaths, 3,161 mesothelioma deaths, 787 ovarian cancer deaths, 443 larynx cancer deaths, and 613 chronic asbestosis deaths.”

These morality numbers are appalling. Dr. Takala’s discoveries not only support that asbestos needs to be banned, but they suggest that asbestos-related diseases are extremely under reported.

In fact, Dr. Takala’s data insists that every year in the United States approximately 39,275 asbestos-related deaths occur. Unfortunately, this number is double the amount that is published by agencies of the U.S. Government.

“These new findings make the call for a ban in the United States even more critical, and we are hopeful the EPA specifically will take note and make the appropriate response,” Reinstein commented.

Putting an End to Mesothelioma

Dr FloresDr. Raja Flores is a well-respected name in the mesothelioma community. He is known for changing the lives of many patients by treating them with either extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) or pleurectomy with decortication (P/D).

At ADAO’s conference, Dr. Flores spoke about the connection that asbestos has to both patients and manufacturing industries. He even floored the conference attendees by informing them that it still isn’t banned in the United States.

“No asbestos – No Mesothelioma. It’s simple,” Dr. Flores announced.

Dr. Flores shared briefly about his experience of working in an office that contained asbestos. He also revealed that even though treatment for mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases are improving, that legislation can save more lives.

“With mesothelioma and asbestos-related cancers, the pen is more powerful than the knife. And I hope that after this meeting, we just don’t go about our days, but we continue to push for legislation that can actually save lives,” Dr. Flores concluded.

Dr. Flores is considered to be one of the top mesothelioma specialists in the United States. Patients travel near and far for his expertise in treating asbestos-related diseases at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York.

Tribute of Hope Award

ADAO awarded the “Tribute of Hope Award” to both U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley and U.S. Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. Both Merkley and Bonamici are sponsors of bills that have one mission: ban asbestos.

Senator Merkley helped introduce the Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act. Bonamici recently introduced a companion bill with the same name.

“We have known about the dangers of asbestos for decades, and many countries have banned it for good reason. It’s past time for Congress to take action and save lives,” said Bonamici.

Asbestos is still legal in the United States. In the last decade, over 8 million pounds of this carcinogen went through U.S. ports.

Some products that still contain asbestos are:
  • Clothing
  • Vinyl floor tile
  • Roof coatings
  • Cement pipe
  • Automatic transmission components
  • Disk brake pads
“The chemical industry continues shamefully to seek a way to profit from a known carcinogen, putting the lives of miners from other countries at risk, as well as those exposed during and after production,” declared Reinstein.

Every day ADAO and mesothelioma warriors from across the U.S. and around the world continue to fight. With each battle, they become one step closer to ending preventable diseases and officially banning asbestos.

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