Mesothelioma Cancer Centers

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One of the most important decisions that mesothelioma patients and their families make is where to receive treatment. Top cancer centers across the country treat mesothelioma patients at all stages. With the world’s most experienced oncologists, surgeons and radiologists leading their programs, these mesothelioma treatment facilities provide the best patient care available.

One of the most important decisions that mesothelioma patients and their families make is where to receive treatment. Top cancer centers across the country treat mesothelioma patients at all stages. With the world’s most experienced oncologists, surgeons and radiologists leading their programs, these mesothelioma treatment facilities provide the best patient care available.

Mesothelioma Cancer Centers Overview

A mesothelioma cancer center is a full-service healthcare facility with programs dedicated to mesothelioma treatment.

Here’s what patients need to know about finding and choosing a mesothelioma cancer center:

  • Cancer centers are located all over the country and likely available near you
  • There are over 20 different cancer centers currently accepting mesothelioma patients
  • Treatment programs are led by top thoracic surgeons and other specialists as well as a team of dedicated support staff
  • Administrators work with multiple insurance companies to ensure your coverage is processed
  • Cancer centers often have their own mesothelioma research initiatives in-house testing the latest in treatment technology

What Is a Mesothelioma Cancer Center?

Mesothelioma cancer centers are comprehensive treatment facilities that put patient care first. They are specialized hospitals and care centers led by teams of multidisciplinary health professionals all with decades of experience in diagnosing, treating and researching mesothelioma.

Cancer centers are known for their commitment to cancer research and staying on top of the latest advancements in rare cancers.

Mesothelioma patients visit cancer centers for many reasons including:

  • Specialized in treating rare cancers, including mesotheliomas
  • Provide full-service, personalized treatment from diagnosis to follow-up
  • Access to in-house research initiatives and clinical trial programs for top treatment technologies

You’ll find that while every mesothelioma center deals with the same disease, different centers will have their unique approaches and philosophies. For example, some centers believe in administering the most aggressive forms of treatment, while others take a more conservative approach.

It’s critical for patients to look into different cancer center options and get to know each one. Knowing what each facility stands for can help patients choose a cancer center that’s right for them.

Explore our list of mesothelioma cancer centers for more information on each facility and their approach to treatment.

“Mesothelioma is so complex, and its care so specialized, that a patient really needs the best care in the world.” — Dr. Avi Lebenthal

Why Seek Treatment at a Mesothelioma Cancer Center?

For mesothelioma patients, the type and level of care they receive is the difference between life and death. Mesothelioma is a rare cancer, with only 3,000 new cases annually in America. Because of its rarity, it’s extremely difficult for general oncologists to understand mesothelioma, let alone treat it effectively.

Oncology departments of general hospitals don’t have the knowledge, expertise or treatment technologies to provide the right kind of care to mesothelioma patients. They also don’t have access to the latest treatment approaches through clinical trial studies and findings. Specialized mesothelioma cancer centers offer all this and more.

Here’s why patients and their families are strongly encouraged to visit mesothelioma cancer centers for their entire treatment experience:

1. Get the Right Diagnosis

Mesothelioma is complex. Not only is it extremely rare, but it also behaves differently than other types of lung or abdominal cancers. The mesothelioma cancer cells themselves can be easily mistaken for other types of cancer cells, even by the most experienced general oncologist.

The intricacies of mesothelioma put patients at a high-risk of a misdiagnosis. A misdiagnosis is a terrible mistake that places patients onto an incorrect treatment plan.

Treating a problem that the patient doesn’t have wastes precious time and allows for the mesothelioma to continue to spread. There is a lot involved in diagnosing mesothelioma, and each factor plays into which type of treatment will ultimately work. Only specialists can make these time-sensitive decisions for mesothelioma patients.

2. Receive Life-Saving, Specialized Treatment

Once a patient has received an accurate diagnosis by a mesothelioma specialist, the lead mesothelioma oncologist works with their multidisciplinary team at the cancer center to devise the best treatment plan possible. No matter what stage of mesothelioma the patient has, these cancer centers have the physicians who know how best to treat it.

Working with several experts across different specialties gives mesothelioma patients the best shot at survival.

Cancer center teams give out life-saving treatments from radiation therapy to chemotherapy to aggressive, tumor-removing surgeries. It’s this multimodal approach to specialized treatment that can improve a patient’s prognosis and extend their life.

Even for late-stage patients, palliative treatments administered by mesothelioma specialists can greatly improve quality of life. That’s because mesothelioma creates unique symptoms that only specialized mesothelioma cancer centers can effectively treat.

3. Benefit from Clinical Trials

A final reason why mesothelioma patients should visit specialized cancer centers is that of the access to the latest treatments. Cancer centers are hubs of research activity, all staffed with physicians and scientists committed to thinking outside the box when it comes to treatment technology.

The latest research in mesothelioma prevention, diagnosis and treatment are underway at certain cancer centers across America. Research is conducted in clinical trial settings right in the research departments of these cancer institutes. General hospitals rarely offer access to these types of advanced treatments.

Clinical Trials Update

Eligible patients can undergo groundbreaking treatments right at their cancer center. Whether it’s access to the latest chemotherapy drugs or new immunotherapy techniques—a type of treatment that enhances the patient’s immune system to better fight cancer cells—mesothelioma patients are given the opportunity to undergo life-extending therapies.

Any time a cure is found for any disease, it’s because of the research in clinical trials at specialized institutes like cancer centers.

Who Works at Mesothelioma Cancer Centers?

Mesothelioma treatment programs at cancer centers are led by top surgical oncologists. These specialists have all been trained, taught or mentored by the world’s most renowned mesothelioma doctors like Dr. David Sugarbaker of the Baylor College of Medicine’s Lung Institute in Houston, TX.

Many of these doctors have gone on to develop their own mesothelioma treatment programs, following their unique approach to care and healing philosophies. The best mesothelioma treatment programs in the nation consist of a robust team of experts, each specializing in their own branch of oncological medicine.

At a mesothelioma cancer center, you can expect to work with any of the following types of medical professionals:

  • Surgical oncologists
  • Medical oncologists
  • Radiation oncologists
  • Radiologists
  • Oncology nurses and nursing staff

Additionally, cancer centers typically have on-site support personnel including:

  • Social workers
  • Chaplains, ministers, and other faith-based leaders
  • Grief counselors
  • Hospice care workers
  • Psychiatrists, psychologists, and mental health professionals

Each individual plays a crucial role in delivering full-service, high-quality patient care. A diverse and knowledgeable team like those at cancer centers ensures the best mesothelioma treatment experience possible.

Where Can I Find a Mesothelioma Cancer Center?

Mesothelioma cancer centers are located throughout the country. Many patients visit the closest nearby cancer center or travel out of state for treatment. Our list of top treatment facilities can help you explore each center and learn more about how to work with their mesothelioma teams.

Patients can also get referrals from their local physician to nearby mesothelioma cancer centers. You can contact the cancer centers directly, or call a Mesothelioma Help Now Patient Advocate for more instruction on getting in touch with a cancer center.

Mesothelioma patients should also look for cancer centers based on their mesothelioma diagnosis. Certain mesothelioma programs only specialize in pleural or peritoneal, so it’s important to consider this before deciding on a center.

Here are examples of mesothelioma cancer centers based on patient needs:

1. Pleural Mesothelioma Cancer Centers

Pleural mesothelioma is by far the most common disease form. As such, there are numerous cancer centers across the country specializing in diagnosing and treating pleural mesothelioma.

These cancer centers have all developed comprehensive pleural mesothelioma treatment programs, and have dedicated research, technology, and clinical trial programs all advancing towards finding a cure.

Here are three of the top pleural mesothelioma centers in the nation:

Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), Boston

  • Home of the International Mesothelioma Program, one of the most comprehensive mesothelioma research programs in the world
  • Led by Dr. Raphael Bueno
  • Birthplace of the Extrapleural Pneumonectomy (EPP) surgical procedure

University of Chicago Cancer Center, Chicago

  • Receives major funding for mesothelioma treatment research
  • Led by Dr. Hedy Lee Kindler
  • Home to ongoing clinical trials for novel vaccine therapies

Lung Institute at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston

  • Provides targeted and personalized treatment plans at the Mesothelioma Treatment Center
  • Led by Dr. David Sugarbaker
  • Dozens of ongoing clinical trials dedicated to testing new drugs and therapies

2. Peritoneal Mesothelioma Cancer Centers

Though peritoneal mesothelioma is less common than pleural, its treatment landscape has improved drastically in the past 10 years. The progress in peritoneal mesothelioma treatment is attributed to a handful of leading cancer centers dedicated to finding new and novel ways of treating this deadly disease.

Here are some of the top peritoneal mesothelioma treatment facilities in the country:

Washington Cancer Institute, Washington DC

  • Offers specialized treatment plans for peritoneal mesothelioma patients
  • Led by Dr. Paul Sugarbaker
  • Home of the Peritoneal Surface Malignancies program dedicated to treating rare abdominal cancers

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh

  • Home to the Mesothelioma Speciality Care Program
  • Peritoneal mesothelioma treatment led by specialists Dr. David Bartlett and Dr. James Pingpank
  • Participates in the National Mesothelioma Virtual Bank (NMVB), an online database of past mesothelioma patients’ blood, tissue and DNA samples

H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa Bay

  • Home to the Mesothelioma Research and Treatment Center
  • Peritoneal mesothelioma treatment led by specialist Dr. Sophie Dessureault
  • Tailor treatment approaches to each patient using the expertise of a multidisciplinary team

3. Cancer Centers for Veterans

Veterans have access to specialized healthcare programs that civilians don’t. Through the Veterans Health Administration system, veterans with mesothelioma can be treated at any of the nation’s VA cancer centers.

Many veterans opt to use the VA Healthcare System because the professionals working in these facilities sympathize with the unique struggles that veterans and their families face. Additionally, these centers can help veterans with their claims and understand their rights when it comes to treatment and compensation.

Here are three VA cancer centers specialized in treating vets with mesothelioma:

VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston

  • Serves veterans from across the country
  • Led by Dr. Avi Lebenthal, a military veteran
  • National research and treatment development center associated with Harvard Medical School

Los Angeles VA Healthcare System, Los Angeles

  • Largest VA hospital in the nation
  • Led by Dr. Robert Cameron
  • Treats pleural mesothelioma using the lung-saving procedure, pleurectomy with decortication

Michael DeBakey VA Medical Center, Houston

  • Serves over 120,000 Texan veterans
  • Affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine, led by Dr. David Sugarbaker
  • Home to a Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Clinic

View more information on receiving mesothelioma treatment through the VA Healthcare System.

How to Choose a Mesothelioma Cancer Center

Choosing a mesothelioma cancer center is a personal decision. But there are some general considerations each patient should make when reviewing their cancer center options.

Here are four things experts recommend factoring into your choice of cancer center:

1. Specialization

It’s vital that whichever cancer center you choose has a solid background in treating your exact type of mesothelioma. This includes not only mesothelioma location but cell type as well. Also, consider whether the cancer center has the experience to treat the mesothelioma stage. Many specialists don’t feel confident treating end-stage mesothelioma, while for others it has become their focus.

2. Location

Where the cancer center is located is another major consideration. Many patients can’t undergo extensive travel and prefer to visit centers as close to home as possible. Other patients choose to travel across the country to visit the center of their choice. For patients located in remote regions, such as Alaska, travel is a certainty.

3. Insurance

Most mesothelioma cancer centers go above and beyond to accommodate the patient’s insurance requirements. But before moving ahead with your choice in a cancer center, be sure to contact an administrator directly to learn more about how their insurance process works. You can also ask about how insurance gets processed and any other administrative details that are important, such as access to your health records.

4. Access to New Therapies

A final, and crucial consideration for all mesothelioma patients are whether or a not a cancer center has ongoing clinical trials that you can participate in. New therapies being tested in clinical trials at various cancer centers have meant, for many patients, the difference between a few months and a few years to live.

Mesothelioma patients deserve the absolute best in treatment technology and must make sure their chosen center can provide it.

Get Compensation for Treatment and Other Expenses

Treatment at top cancer centers is a major expense. Not only are the visits and treatments costly, but there are loads of additional and secondary costs associated with treatment. Other expenses include travel, lodging, and food for the patient and their family, as well as drug and follow-up care costs.

While many people have insurance coverage, oftentimes mesothelioma patients may find themselves underinsured, or they may discover their policy doesn’t cover every cost they’ll incur. Because of the damaging nature of mesothelioma and it is caused by the neglect of asbestos companies, there are compensation and financial assistance available for most patients.

You and your loved ones may be eligible for compensation through asbestos trust funds, lawsuits, and other legal means. In order to access these funds quickly, patients need to work with trusted, dedicated mesothelioma lawyers who understand the legal complexities involved in asbestos claims.

Contact our Patient Advocates today to learn more about how you can access to top treatment as soon as possible.

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Sources
  1. International Mesothelioma Program. Retrieved from: https://impmeso.org/. Accessed on November 13, 2017.
  2. Baylor College of Medicine, “Mesothelioma Treatment Center.” Retrieved from: https://www.bcm.edu/healthcare/care-centers/mesothelioma-treatment-center. Accessed on November 13, 2017.
  3. Moffitt Cancer Center, “Mesothelioma Treatment Information.” Retrieved from: https://moffitt.org/cancers/mesothelioma/. Accessed November 13, 2017.

Last modified: March 17, 2018