Most oncologists are not properly trained or equipped to treat mesothelioma. Choosing a specialist who is familiar with the disease and actively performs research in the field is of the utmost importance. Learn more about the top experts in the country and how to select them as your specialist.
The most important thing mesothelioma patients can do to improve their prognosis is find a doctor who understands all the intricacies of this rare but complex cancer.
The right specialist can make a world of difference. The unique characteristics of mesothelioma make it unlike other cancers. It looks and acts differently. And the rarity of it – accounting for only .3 percent of all diagnosed cancers – makes it a mystery to the majority of physicians and oncologists in the country.
You need an expert with experience to treat it effectively.
There are a handful of mesothelioma specialists across the country, most working at prestigious medical centers and hospitals that are equipped with cutting edge technology and involved with the latest research and on-going clinical trials.
These are the doctors who can change a mesothelioma prognosis, refusing to accept the typical gloom-and-doom attitude that often accompanies a diagnosis of mesothelioma. These specialists understand the complex, multi-faceted therapies available now that can give patients a fighting chance against this aggressive cancer.Get Help Now
Not all doctors are the same, and they all don't have the same interest in treating mesothelioma, which is difficult to treat successfully. Some on this list are surgeons, while others are pulmonologists or thoracic oncologists. Some treat pleural mesothelioma and others treat the peritoneal variety.
Lung Institute at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston
Sugarbaker spent more than 20 years at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he built his reputation as the nation’s foremost authority on mesothelioma. He moved to Baylor in 2014, where he plans to build the finest facility in the world, combining well-funded research with clinical excellence.Get in Contact
Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston
Lebanthal, who once served as a battalion physician in the Israeli Army, has taken a special interest in military veterans with mesothelioma. He splits his time between Brigham and Women’s and the VA Boston Healthcare System. He was recruited to Boston to be part of the International Mesothelioma Program which was started by mentor David Sugarbaker.Get in Contact
UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles
Cameron has pioneered the development of the lung-sparing pleurectomy/decortication surgery that has helped so many patients. He has lobbied relentlessly against the more radical extrapleural pneumonectomy surgery still being done in other centers. He is the driving force behind the Pacific Meso Center, which has its own research and development arm. He also is part of the West Los Angeles VA Healthcare System.Get in Contact
Mount Sinai Hospital, New York
Flores became chief of thoracic surgery at Mount Sinai in 2010, not far from where he grew up many years before. Peers rave about his surgical expertise. Patients talk about his regular-guy, bedside manner and the hope he brings, giving them the confidence to fight this disease.Get in Contact
Ochsner Cancer Institute, New Orleans
Conway has assumed a leadership role in the treatment of peritoneal mesothelioma almost by necessity. Louisiana for years has been a leader in mesothelioma incidence rates, but until Conway arrived in 2009, the state was lacking a mesothelioma specialty center. The Ochsner Cancer Institute is now filling the role.Get in Contact
New York University Langone Medical Center, New York
Sterman is the clinical director of the Multidisciplinary Pulmonary Oncology Program at New York University Langone Medical Center. He is the one who bridges the gap between medical research and the latest therapies for mesothelioma, a disease he is determined to beat.Get in Contact
Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa
Fontaine recently became director of the revamped Mesothelioma Research and Treatment Center at Moffitt after joining the multi-disciplinary staff in 2011. He was trained at Brigham and Women’s Hospital under David Sugarbaker and also worked at the Brown Medical School in Providence, R.I., where he developed a thoracic surgery program.Get in Contact
University of Chicago Medical Center, Chicago
Kindler is the director of the Mesothelioma Program, seeing more than 100 mesothelioma patients annually. Her research has been at the forefront of recent advances in therapy for the disease. “This is not a one-size-fits-all disease anymore,” she said. “We have therapies now that can be tailored to the patient.”Get in Contact
Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia
Shah has carved his niche as one of America’s brightest young thoracic surgeons, quickly earning the respect and admiration of his mesothelioma patients and their families. He has helped pioneer the most up-to-date surgical advances. “Attitudes toward mesothelioma are changing,” he said. “There is real reason now for hope.”Get in Contact
Cancer Institute at Washington Hospital Center, DC
Many consider Sugarbaker one of the nation’s innovators and authorities on peritoneal mesothelioma. The Washington-trained surgeon is best known for developing The Sugarbaker Procedure — a life-saving peritoneal mesothelioma treatment where a surgeon removes all visible tumors from the abdominal area and then bathes that region with a heated chemotherapy solution that kills any cancer cells that remain.Get in Contact
Even with the help of a Patient Advocate from the Mesothelioma Prognosis Network, choosing the right doctor to escort you through this cancer battle isn’t easy. The important thing, though, is making the right choice for your particular circumstance.
Getting a second opinion is critical when it comes to improving your mesothelioma prognosis and finding the best treatment available.
As a rare but aggressive cancer, mesothelioma is a virtual mystery to most physicians and many oncologists who rarely see it. Many in the medical community are unaware of the recent advancements being made regarding mesothelioma treatment.
A second and sometimes third opinion, particularly from a mesothelioma specialist, can result in an entirely different outlook toward the disease. It needs to be treated aggressively. The wait-and-see approach, which is used often by those who don’t treat it regularly, is no longer the standard of care.
Long-term mesothelioma survivors are growing in numbers every day. Gone are the days when a typical patient lived only 6-12 months after a diagnosis. They are living 2, 3, 4, 5 years and beyond.
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