After a mesothelioma diagnosis, the first step to quick and advanced treatment is selecting a top-rated cancer doctor who is on the cutting-edge of advanced mesothelioma treatments ( link to Treatment Options page) and is recognized for expertise in the field.
Because mesothelioma is such a rare and complex disease, only a handful of doctors understand its complexities. Oncologists are doctors who specialize in cancer treatment. In each state, however, only a few oncologists are known to be experts in mesothelioma treatment. These oncologists have studied the intricacies of the disease and understand which treatments work fon each of the different types of mesothelioma – pleural, peritoneal and pericardial. They also understand the treatment differences between mesothelioma and well-differentiated papillary mesothelioma(WDPM).
Choosing Your Mesothelioma Doctor
With so many oncologists available, it’s hard to pick the one who you trust will work hard on your treatment. You may feel like picking the best mesothelioma doctor is the most important decision of your life because your success partly depends on that doctor’s expertise. You want to be comfortable and confident in the person who will head up your medical team. You can start by asking your doctor some questions:
- What is your experience with mesothelioma? How many cases of mesothelioma have you treated?
- How much advanced training have you had in the field?
- Do you specialize in any one type of mesothelioma?
- Do you recommend a second opinion?
- What is your standard treatment for mesothelioma? How will my treatment differ?
- What kind of other experts will be on my treatment team?
- How will I be a part of the treatment team?
- How can I contact you with my concerns? Do you have a liaison or can I contact you directly?
- How long will the treatments last? What kind of side effects can I expect from treatment?
- When will we know if the treatment has worked?
- Do you accept my insurance? How much will this cost out-of-pocket?
Even though it might be intimidating to ask these questions, remember that it’s your life you are saving. You are not undermining or offending your oncologist, simply doing what is best for you and your family. Also, don’t be shy about taking notes or asking if you can record the conversation with your physician. These two tools can be helpful later when you can’t remember what the doctor said.
Top Mesothelioma Specialists and Facilities
Among the best and brightest mesothelioma specialists are doctors who have decades of experience in the field, understand how the disease works and are continually innovating in the field. These doctors also work in world-renowned hospitals that are known to support mesothelioma research with ongoing clinical trials and innovative technology.
Among the top are doctors across the United States:
- Dr. David Sugarbaker – As the chief of thoracic surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a teaching hospital in Boston associated with Harvard Medical School, Sugarbaker is on the forefront of mesothelioma treatment and a possible cure.
- Dr. Harvey Pass – Pass, the director of thoracic surgery at New York University’s Bellevue Hospital, is currently leading the charge to find the early markers for the cancer and teaching other doctors to detect the disease early.
- Dr. Hedy Kindler – As the director of the Mesothelioma Program at the University of Chicago’s Medical Center, Kindler is personally motivated to find a cure. Her father died from mesothelioma.
- Dr. Robert Cameron – Cameron is a surgical oncologist at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in California. He works closely with Navy veterans in finding a cure.
- Dr. David Rice – As an associate professor of surgery at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Dallas, Rice has taken a special interest in mesothelioma research and improving mesothelioma survival rates.
In addition to the previously mentioned top-rated cancer centers where the leading doctors work, there are a number of other excellent facilities nationwide:
- Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center – New York
- Moffitt Cancer Center – Florida
- Duke Cancer Center – North Carolina and Virginia
- National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health – Maryland
We Can Help
If finding a mesothelioma specialist seems overwhelming, don’t worry. You are not alone. It’s hard to decide which expert will be the best for your situation. At the Mesothelioma Support Network, we understand these stresses and have taken some of the legwork out of the way for you. Our exclusive Doctor Match Program gives you the peace of mind you need in finding the best specialists.
Because of our years of experience in this field, we have vetted many of the leading specialists in the country and compiled a list of those who not only specialize in mesothelioma treatment but also understand the special needs of mesothelioma patients and their families.