Mesothelioma is a rare and complex disease. Treating it requires expert knowledge from experienced professionals who can develop a potentially life-extending treatment strategy. Learn more about visiting a mesothelioma doctor for your diagnosis and treatment plan.
Mesothelioma Doctors Overview
Though there are many capable oncologists at hospitals across our country, only a handful of oncological doctors have the intricate knowledge of mesothelioma that’s necessary to effectively diagnose and treat it.
If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma or you’re experiencing symptoms, here’s what you need to know about mesothelioma doctors:
- Mesothelioma doctors are surgical and medical oncologists specializing in mesothelioma research and treatment
- Doctors with the knowledge required to treat mesothelioma are located at a handful of world-class cancer centers across the country
- Mesothelioma doctors are the only physicians who can make an accurate mesothelioma diagnosis
- Mesothelioma treatment programs are led by multidisciplinary teams of specialists from across a variety of oncological fields
- It’s common for mesothelioma patients to work with mesothelioma surgeons, medical oncologists, radiologists and other specialized medical care professionals
- Mesothelioma patients can make an appointment today to see a mesothelioma doctor as soon as possible
What is a Mesothelioma Doctor?
Mesothelioma doctors are physicians who have dedicated their education and careers to researching and treating mesothelioma.
Many mesothelioma doctors are directly responsible for some of the most groundbreaking findings that have led to life-extending treatments for mesothelioma patients.
As the only professionals with the expertise to properly diagnose this complicated disease, mesothelioma doctors are capable of studying each patient’s unique case and putting together a targeted treatment strategy. Personalized treatments address the individual patient’s disease location, stage, cell type as well as their overall health levels. Treating mesothelioma is a highly involved process that requires the careful consideration of many factors.
All patients have their best chances of survival with a treatment plan developed by mesothelioma doctors.
Types of Mesothelioma Doctors
Not only do mesothelioma doctors specialize in the disease itself, but there are many sub-specializations that fall within the broader field of mesothelioma research. Treating mesothelioma is highly complex and usually involves multiple treatment types. Each type of treatment must be administered by a doctor with highly specialized knowledge of both mesothelioma and their treatment modality.
Some of the types of doctors that research mesothelioma and treat patients include:
- Radiation oncologists (radiation therapy doctors)
- Medical oncologists (chemotherapy doctors)
- Surgical oncologists (cardio, thoracic and gastrointestinal)
- Pulmonologists (lung doctors)
- Pathologists (doctors who study diseased cells)
In addition to having specialization in mesothelioma treatment, many doctors choose to specialize in certain forms of mesothelioma, including specific disease locations and stages. It’s incredibly important for mesothelioma patients to see doctors who specialize in their mesothelioma location and type as mesothelioma locations are largely considered different diseases.
Pleural Mesothelioma Specialists
Pleural mesothelioma specialists are thoracic surgical oncologists. This means that they are cancer doctors who specialize in surgically removing cancers from the chest. However, not all thoracic surgical oncologists have the expertise required to perform the intricate surgeries required to treat pleural mesothelioma. Only those specializing in mesothelioma can successfully treat pleural mesothelioma with surgery.
Pleural Mesothelioma Specialist Spotlight
Dr. David Sugarbaker: Developer of the extrapleural pneumonectomy procedure, Dr. David Sugarbaker is the head of thoracic surgery at Baylor College of Medicine’s Mesothelioma Program in Houston TX. Dr. Sugarbaker specializes in treating stage 1 and 2 pleural mesothelioma patients. He works with a multidisciplinary team and prescribes aggressive surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation to mesothelioma patients who come to Baylor.
Other pleural mesothelioma specialists include:
- Dr. Robert Cameron, West Los Angeles VA and UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles CA
- Dr. Anne Tsao, MD Anderson Medical Center, Houston TX
- Dr. Raphael Bueno, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Boston MA
Pleural Mesothelioma Specialist Spotlight
Dr. Avi Lebenthal: As a pleural mesothelioma specialist and veteran of the Israeli Army, Dr. Lebenthal has further specialized his pleural mesothelioma treatment practice to work with veterans. Dr. Lebenthal works out of the Boston VA Healthcare System in Boston MA and is an Instructor at Harvard Medical School. He is uniquely positioned to understand the specific needs of veterans with mesothelioma and is highly respected by his patients and the entire mesothelioma research community.
Peritoneal Mesothelioma Specialists
Peritoneal mesothelioma specialists are gastrointestinal surgical oncologists. As highly specialized surgeons, peritoneal mesothelioma specialists focus on surgically removing mesothelioma from the abdomen and digestive tract. Peritoneal mesothelioma surgeons need to have a highly involved knowledge of peritoneal malignancies to allow them to identify the exact type of cancer their patient has.
Different peritoneal cancers require different treatment approaches, so peritoneal mesothelioma specialists are vital in properly diagnosing the disease and ensuring patients get the best quality treatment available.
Peritoneal Mesothelioma Specialist Spotlight
Dr. Paul Sugarbaker: As one of the nation’s most talented gastrointestinal surgeons, Dr. Paul Sugarbaker has revolutionized the landscape of peritoneal mesothelioma treatment. Challenging conventional treatment beliefs, Dr. Sugarbaker developed a procedure, now coined “the Sugarbaker Technique”, which involves surgically removing mesothelioma from the peritoneum and following it with direct heated chemotherapy. The Sugarbaker Technique has proved to be incredibly successful and is yielding an average 5-year patient survival rate. Dr. Sugarbaker works out of the Washington Cancer Institute in Washington DC.
Pericardial Mesothelioma Specialists
Pericardial mesothelioma specialists are cardiac surgical oncologists. As specialists, pericardial mesothelioma doctors focus on surgically removing mesothelioma tumors from the pericardium. Surgeries as risky as those performed on the heart require highly skilled surgeons using the latest in minimally-invasive surgical techniques.
Only a small handful of surgeons have the expertise necessary to perform surgical diagnosis and treatment for pericardial mesothelioma patients. A few of the nation’s top pleural mesothelioma specialists are also trained cardiac surgeons able to perform surgeries to treat pericardial mesothelioma.
Why See a Mesothelioma Doctor?
All patients diagnosed with mesothelioma should see a mesothelioma doctor. Additionally, anyone experiencing symptoms of mesothelioma with a known history of asbestos exposure should also seek consultation from a mesothelioma specialist. Mesothelioma is frequently misdiagnosed as other non-life-threatening conditions or other more common cancers.
Here are some important reasons to see a mesothelioma specialist:
- Diagnosis: All mesothelioma diagnoses should be confirmed by specialized mesothelioma doctors. Mesothelioma cells can easily be mistaken for other cancer cells because they have similar properties. An experienced mesothelioma pathologist should always be the one who confirms the results of a biopsy for suspected mesothelioma patients.
- Treatment: All mesothelioma patients should undergo surgeries provided by highly experienced mesothelioma doctors. In most cases, mesothelioma requires a multimodal approach to treat it effectively and give the patient the best shot at life-extension. Mesothelioma doctors can accurately diagnose and treat mesothelioma, unlike general oncologists who don’t regularly deal with this rare disease.
- Second Opinion: All mesothelioma patients who have been diagnosed by a general oncologist should seek the second opinion of a mesothelioma specialist before moving ahead with treatment. There are many cases where a patient was diagnosed with either a different cell type or stage of mesothelioma, only to have the diagnosis changed upon seeing a specialist. A changed diagnosis opens up a whole new set of treatment possibilities for patients.
Finding a Mesothelioma Doctor Near You
Mesothelioma doctors are available at NCI-Designated Cancer Centers across the country. Many of these cancer centers have designated mesothelioma research and treatment programs headed by the world’s top mesothelioma doctors.
To find mesothelioma doctors located near you, contact our Patient Advocates today. Our Doctor Match program is free for all mesothelioma patients looking for specialized treatment or a second opinion on their diagnosis. We’ll review your diagnosis and put you in touch with specialists trained and experienced in treating your exact disease form. Don’t delay in getting the mesothelioma treatments you deserve from an experienced professional.