What Is a Mesothelioma Doctor?
Mesothelioma doctors are specialized cancer doctors who focus their education, practice, and research on treating mesothelioma. Experts in mesothelioma often work in or head centers dedicated to mesothelioma treatment.
Video Summary: Registered Nurse Amy Fair discusses the types of doctors you need on your team when being diagnosed and treated for mesothelioma. View Transcript.
Who should be on my medical team for treatment?
The health professionals that should be on your team starts with your primary medical doctor because you may have other comorbidities or things your taking medication for or diseases. Normally that referral goes into a pulmonologist or a gastroenterologist depending on what type of mesothelioma you have, whether it be pleural or peritoneal. That will normally proceed into a surgical component, surgeon, and then lead into an oncology or radiology component. It’s also very important that you have a nutritionist on this team. Many facilities have what they call a tumor board that comprises these disciplines together. The continuity of care of phenomenal with a tumor board.
Mesothelioma doctors may work as:
- Medical oncologists: These doctors treat mesothelioma with chemotherapy and other medications.
- Surgical oncologists: These doctors treat mesothelioma by performing surgery.
- Radiation oncologists: Radiologists treat mesothelioma with radiation therapy.
All mesothelioma specialists work with other members of a patient’s medical care team such as nurses to provide the most effective treatments and customized care to each individual.
Mesothelioma doctors are on the cutting edge of new and groundbreaking treatments as they devote their entire careers to finding a cure for this cancer type. They usually treat patients and conduct ongoing scientific research to discover new and better ways to fight mesothelioma.
Most of the groundbreaking findings that have led to life-extending treatments are a direct result of the work of mesothelioma specialists.
Mesothelioma is a complex and rare disease that most oncologists will only see a few times in their career. Mesothelioma doctors see only patients like you or your loved one and have a breadth of experience about mesothelioma that results in more effective treatment, better care, and an improved outcome.
Quick Facts about Mesothelioma Doctors
- Mesothelioma doctors focus not just on the diagnosis and treatment of mesothelioma, but on discovering better ways to treat the disease.
- Mesothelioma doctors work in mesothelioma cancer centers — centers focused on improving the length and quality of life for victims of mesothelioma.
- Many mesothelioma doctors go beyond standardized care, developing new treatments through clinical trials.
- Mesothelioma doctors make it their business to not only understand mesothelioma but to understand the needs and concerns of their patients.
Why See a Mesothelioma Doctor?
Mesothelioma is rare, accounting for only about 0.3% of all cancer diagnoses. While doctors diagnose over 220,000 cases of lung cancer each year, only around 3,000 new mesothelioma cases are diagnosed annually, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS).
Because of this rarity, the broader medical community is not nearly as familiar with mesothelioma as it is with more common cancers.
Many oncologists have never treated a mesothelioma patient over the course of their medical careers.
This may cause general oncologists to misdiagnose mesothelioma, which often presents like other cancers, pneumonia, or even the flu. This delays an accurate diagnosis and potentially life-extending treatment.
Better treatment outcomes rely on early diagnosis and determination of mesothelioma stage, type of mesothelioma, and cell type, with which a mesothelioma specialist is more familiar.