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.
Best in the Field
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.
Questions to Ask When Choosing Your Doctor
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.
- How many cases of mesothelioma have you treated?
- Have you treated my subtype before?
- What kind of results have you achieved?
- Do you accept my insurance?
- Can you help me enroll in a clinical trial?
- Can you answer my questions by phone or email?
The Importance of Second Opinions
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.