Ashley Stafford is a volunteer online blogger for treatmesothelioma.org. She has a very special interest in helping Veterans as her father served in the Navy. Along with donating her time to help our armed forces, she has an extreme curiosity in all types of rare diseases, especially cancer. One of her goals is to learn as much about cancer and the various treatments available in hopes raise more awareness on what may or may not be kept secret to the general public.
Mesothelioma Doctors and Specialists
In the unfortunate circumstance of being diagnosed with mesothelioma, the patient should absolutely consider an oncologist as well as a mesothelioma specialist (if they haven’t been referred already). When it comes to treating mesothelioma, it is not uncommon for the treatment process to encompass a team of professionals with multiple doctors in order to come up with the best possible treatment plan.
These medical professionals include but are not limited to several types of specialists whom are capable of specifically treating mesothelioma because their field of expertise overlaps between all of the mesothelioma treatment options available:
- Thoracic Surgeons (chest surgeon)
- Oncologists (cancer specialist)
- Pulmonologists (lung specialist)
- Chemotherapy and radiation specialists
- General Surgeons
- Physical therapists
- Mesothelioma specialists
Most leading mesothelioma specialists have their clinical degree in thoracic oncology (which concentrates on lung, mid-section, and esophageal malignancies).
Mesothelioma doctors and specialists are also knowledgeable in modern clinical trials, medicines and surgeries. With all of these options on the table, they will be able to tailor a treatment plan specifically for each particular case and patient.
Mesothelioma Cancer Is Diversely Young
Current medical understanding of malignant mesothelioma is still in its infancy. Specialists have recognized this and have stated that research still needs to be continued in the following areas:
- DNA and molecular damage
- Possible combination of asbestos and another cause
- The speed and warning signs
- Prognosis accuracy
- Information about how the disease spreads
- Better treatment options and control
Well Known Mesothelioma Specialists
As mentioned earlier, in most cases the best path for treatment is with a team of specialists that provide interdisciplinary care for mesothelioma patients. The best strategy for treating mesothelioma depends on the specific type, which is basically the specific organ in the body where it is developing. That being said, below is a list of the top mesothelioma specialists in the country, organized by the type of mesothelioma they specialize in.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
- Joseph S. Friedberg
Penn Presbyterian Medical Center
- David Harpole, Jr.
Duke Cancer Institute
- Raffit Hassan
Center for Cancer Research/National Cancer Institute
- David Sugarbaker, M.D.
Lung Institute at Baylor College of Medicine
- David M. Jablons
UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion
- Lary Robinson
H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute
- Charles Conway, M.D.
Ochsner Cancer Institute
Other Great Surgeons With Experience in Treating Mesothelioma
- Paul Sugarbaker, M.D.
Washington Cancer Institute
- Prashant Shah, M.D.
Fox Chase Cancer Center
Questions To Ask Before Making Your Decision
You are putting your life in a doctor’s hands, so how do you decide which one is right for you? The following questions may help you make a better and a much more informed decision:
- Does the doctor have experience in treating mesothelioma? How much experience? How many cases has he/she treated in the past year?
- Does he/she have the education to be considered a specialist?
- Are your concerns addressed?
- Are you encouraged to ask questions?
- Did the doctor listen with concern and respect?
- Does the doctor actively participate in clinical research?
It might also be helpful to know if the doctor has experience in treating mesothelioma at every stage of the disease. The reason this could be important is because specific treatments are administered based on what stage of cancer you are in.
Ultimately, you will have to decide who will treat you. You should feel comfortable with the doctor you choose and believe they are equipped to handle your disease. You and your family should have a good working relationship with your doctor and always be involved in the treatment decisions.
Final Things To Consider
You also may want to consider:
- Are you willing to travel? Some top cancer treat centers may be a great distance from you. Travelling while undergoing treatment can be stressful and time consuming. Find out what treatment center your doctor collaborates with.
- Is there financial aid available or travel and lodging accommodations? Some organizations offer grants for mesothelioma patients to travel to a top treatment center as there are a limited number of specialists available to treat mesothelioma. One such organization is the Meso Foundation.
Making sure you get the best care takes a little effort, but with the right team of doctors, your prognosis could improve significantly.