Importance of Finding a Mesothelioma Cancer Center
Pleural mesothelioma is a complex and rare cancer. This is why life expectancy often depends on whether a person is treated at a specialized cancer center where they have access to the best mesothelioma doctors.
Seeking cancer care at a top mesothelioma center — one with surgeons, oncologists and radiologists who have experience with the disease — allows for personalized treatment for mesothelioma and gives patients a major advantage.
Non-specialty clinics do not offer the latest surgical techniques and drug combinations that can benefit mesothelioma patients the most. They are less likely to have access to mesothelioma clinical trials and may have trouble obtaining an accurate mesothelioma diagnosis.
You may need to travel long distances to reach a top mesothelioma treatment center, but telemedicine options can help you get a second opinion without extensive travel.
While no doctor can guarantee effective treatment for mesothelioma, seeing a team of specialists gives you the best chance of longer survival.
Top 10 Pleural Mesothelioma Treatment Centers
Many of the best mesothelioma centers are in the Northeast, but there are excellent mesothelioma treatment facilities in other areas of the country as well.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston
Brigham and Women’s Hospital offers top-notch medical care to mesothelioma patients. The hospital is a member of the Harvard Medical School family of institutions and partners with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. It also serves veterans with mesothelioma who come to the VA Boston Healthcare System.
These partnerships allow Brigham and Women’s Hospital to offer a wide variety of mesothelioma therapies and access to clinical trials.
- Elizabeth Baldini, M.D.Radiation Oncologist
- Jennifer Bellon, M.D.Radiation Oncologist
- Raphael Bueno, M.D.Thoracic Surgery Division Chief
- Marcelo DaSilva, M.D.Thoracic Surgeon
- Abraham Lebenthal, M.D.Thoracic Surgeon
- Scott J. Swanson, M.D.Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery Associate Director
The International Mesothelioma Program develops cutting-edge treatment strategies and provides support for patients and their families. The program is the largest of its kind, with about 180 patients and more than 300 consultations each year.
The mesothelioma specialists at Brigham and Women’s Hospital contribute to collaborative research studies and clinical trials.
Research topics include novel targeted cancer treatments, biomarkers for a more accurate diagnosis, reducing morbidities and recovery time after surgery, and improving patient quality of life.
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston
The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute offers outpatient care, while inpatient care is offered at nearby Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The same team of expert mesothelioma doctors works at both sites.
The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is affiliated with Harvard Medical School and receives more than $500 million in research grants each year from the National Institutes of Health.
- David jackman, M.D.Medical Oncologist
- Pasi A. Janne, M.D.Medical Oncologist
- Bruce Johnson, M.D.Lowe Center for Thoracic Oncology Director
The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute supports the International Mesothelioma Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s researchers continue to study how mesothelioma tumors grow. They have analyzed the effects of different combinations and dosages of drugs and tested ways to administer treatments with fewer side effects than standard chemotherapy.
The institute has 19 core research facilities and collaborates with Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health and four of its affiliated hospitals.
MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston
The MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas is a national leader in the diagnosis and treatment of pleural mesothelioma. In 2018, U.S. News & World Report ranked it the No. 1 “Best Hospital for Cancer Care” for the fourth consecutive year.
MD Anderson’s thoracic team consists of more than 30 surgeons, oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists and pulmonologists who have experience treating mesothelioma.
- Frank V. Fossella, M.D.Clinical Medical Director
- Ritsuko U. Komaki, M.D.Thoracic Radiation Oncology Program Director
- David C. Rice, M.D.Thoracic Surgeon
- George Simon, M.D.Clinical Investigation Assistant Director
- Stephen Swisher, M.D.Department Chair for Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
- Anne Tsao, M.D.Mesothelioma Program Director
The Mesothelioma Program in MD Anderson’s Department of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology is one of the largest of its kind in the country.
MD Anderson has participated in hundreds of research projects and offers patients access to clinical trials of emerging treatments. The center’s researchers are developing new diagnostic methods, targeted radiation therapy and novel drugs to increase the body’s ability to fight the disease.
Lung Institute at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston
The Lung Institute at Baylor College of Medicine was set up under the leadership of Dr. David Sugarbaker. He is a founder and previous director of the International Mesothelioma Program in Boston.
Baylor’s Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center partners with the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center. It has been recognized for excellence by the National Cancer Institute.
- Bryan Burt, M.D.General Thoracic Surgery Associate Chief
- Pavan M. Jhaveri, M.D.Radiation Department Associate Medical Director
- R. Taylor Ripley, M.D.Mesothelioma Treatment Center Director
- Anita Lyn Sabichi, M.D.Medical Oncologist
Baylor’s Mesothelioma Treatment Center has recruited many of the nation’s top pleural mesothelioma specialists.
The Baylor College of Medicine is located in the Texas Medical Center, the world’s largest health-sciences complex. This gives the researchers of the Lung Institute extraordinary opportunities for collaboration.
Their research efforts focus on matching novel targeted therapies to the unique genetics and characteristics of each patient’s tumor.
H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, Florida
The H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center emphasizes innovative treatment options through clinical research. The specialists there pioneered intensity-modulated radiation therapy for mesothelioma.
Specialists communicate closely to ensure the best course of treatment in each case. They focus on treatment and total cancer care throughout the patient’s life.
The Mesothelioma Treatment and Research Center is one of the best programs in the southeastern United States.
Researchers at Moffitt’s Mesothelioma Treatment and Research Center focus on exploring novel treatment methods. Research areas include immunotherapy, experimental therapeutics and ways to better detect and prevent cancer.
The National Cancer Institute designated Moffitt a Comprehensive Cancer Center because of its continued achievements in research. It has received more than $75 million in peer-reviewed grant funding.
Abramson Cancer Center, Philadelphia
The Center for Lung Cancer, Mesothelioma and Related Disorders at the Abramson Cancer Center has earned national recognition for developing more effective treatments. Its accomplished research team gives pleural mesothelioma patients access to clinical trials.
The center’s Mesothelioma and Pleural Disease Program offers specialists in oncology, surgery and radiation who collaborate to develop a patient-specific treatment plan. This multidisciplinary approach includes the most advanced and minimally invasive surgical techniques.
- Corey J. Langer, M.D.Director of Thoracic Oncology
The Mesothelioma and Pleural Disease Program offers treatment for pleural mesothelioma, asbestosis and other occupational illnesses.
As part of the University of Pennsylvania, the Abramson Cancer Center’s researchers ensure their discoveries have an immediate effect on improving patient care. They study the causes of pleural mesothelioma to improve detection methods and learn how to better treat this disease.
The center’s thoracic surgeons have developed less invasive surgical options to reduce recovery time. They also helped pioneer video-assisted surgery and the use of photodynamic therapy in combination with surgery.
UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles
The Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center is integrated with the University of California, Los Angeles, a research and teaching university with state-of-the-art facilities.
JCCC has established a reputation for developing and improving cancer therapies. The center also partners with the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System to provide first-class care to veterans.
UCLA’s Comprehensive Mesothelioma Program offers innovative surgical options and postoperative therapy to improve and maintain quality of life.
The National Cancer Institute awarded JCCC’s Lung Cancer Program a Specialized Programs of Research Excellence grant, which promotes collaborative, interdisciplinary translational cancer research. JCCC’s researchers have developed a number of targeted cancer treatment drugs.
University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center, Chicago
The University of Chicago’s Comprehensive Cancer Center has been a leader in mesothelioma treatment for more than 20 years. The National Cancer Institute has designated it as one of the top centers for cancer treatment in the country.
The program’s researchers focus on developing innovative treatment regimens to extend patient life expectancies with pleural mesothelioma.
- Mark Ferguson, M.D.Thoracic Surgeon
- Heber MacMahon, M.D.Thoracic Radiology Section Chief
- Renuka Malik, M.D.Radiation Oncologist
- Ravi Salgia, M.D.Thoracic Oncology Research Program Director
Chicago’s Mesothelioma Program offers state-of-the-art treatment options and experimental therapies through clinical trials.
The center’s researchers aim to improve patients’ quality of life and eradicate mesothelioma as a life-threatening disease. They focus on translational research they can immediately use to develop new treatments or to improve surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
Ochsner Cancer Institute, New Orleans
The Ochsner Health System includes 40 health centers and hundreds of physicians in more than 90 specialties. Physicians, oncology nurses, researchers, social workers and other health care professionals collaborate to deliver outstanding patient care.
- Brian Pettiford, M.D.Cardiothoracic Surgeon
- Robert Ramirez, M.D.Cancer Research Associate Director
The Ochsner Community Clinical Oncology Program gives patients the opportunity to participate in clinical trials developed by collaborative research groups from around the country.
The Ochsner Cancer Institute partners with the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center. The institute focuses on developing and testing new cancer treatment methods such as heated chemoperfusion for mesothelioma. This highly specialized way to deliver chemotherapy is done at only a few centers throughout the country.
Ochsner has been involved in cutting-edge clinical trials for decades and has the largest clinical trial program in the New Orleans area.
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Hermitage, Pennsylvania
The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has one of the most extensive cancer center networks, with 39 affiliates nationwide. UPMC’s partnership with the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute allows it to make significant advances in cancer research.
- Neil Christie, M.D.Thoracic Surgeon
- James Luketich, M.D.Thoracic and Foregut Surgery Division Chief
- Matthew Schuchert, M.D.Cardiothoracic Surgeon
The Mesothelioma Specialty Care Program includes specialists in thoracic surgery, radiology, pathology, pulmonology and pain management.
Clinical trials and research are an integral part of UPMC’s cancer centers. Its specialists focus on pioneering new cancer treatments such as radiofrequency ablation.
UPMC researchers also work to learn more about the biological basis of cancer growth and identify biomarkers to improve diagnostic techniques.
Other Notable Mesothelioma Cancer Centers
VA Treatment Centers for Pleural Mesothelioma
As a group, veterans are disproportionately affected by mesothelioma because of high levels of asbestos exposure during military service.
To address the treatment needs of this group, some of the top mesothelioma cancer centers in the U.S. work in conjunction with notable VA health care facilities.
For example, VA Boston Healthcare is affiliated with Brigham and Women’s and Harvard Medical School. The VA West Los Angeles Medical Center works with UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center to ensure veterans have access to the best mesothelioma therapies.
Veterans can receive high-quality pleural mesothelioma treatment centers within the Department of Veterans Affairs system. Eligible veterans can ask for a referral to any of several locations:
- VA Boston Healthcare System
- VA West Los Angeles Medical Center
- Bruce W. Carter VA Medical Center in Miami
- Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston
- Atlanta VA Health Care System
Mesothelioma Cancer Centers FAQ
- What does a mesothelioma treatment center offer that other hospitals do not offer?
Treatment centers that specialize in mesothelioma feature multiple types of mesothelioma specialists such as surgeons, oncologists and radiologists. These specialists work together to offer a multidisciplinary approach to treatment, which has proven to be the most effective way to treat mesothelioma. They also offer specialized medical equipment, such as special radiation application devices, tailored to deliver more precise treatment.
- What factors should I consider before choosing a cancer center?
It is important to consider how far you will travel, whether the center treats your type of mesothelioma and whether you are comfortable with the mesothelioma doctors they have on staff. If you do have to travel for treatment, does the center offer discounted lodging? Make a list of the things that are important to you and your family before deciding on a cancer center.
- How do I find a mesothelioma specialist?
You can search online to find mesothelioma specialists near you. Many of the best mesothelioma specialists are located at the top cancer centers throughout the country. You may have to travel to find the right doctor for your specific diagnosis.