Only an experienced pleural mesothelioma specialist can properly diagnose and treat this rare disease. We work with the top doctors around the country and help patients find the best treatment team for their individual diagnosis.
Although pleural mesothelioma is the most common type of the disease, it is still a rare cancer with about 2,000 to 3,000 people diagnosed in the United States each year. Because the condition is rare, few doctors have any experience treating it.
Doctors who specialize in treating mesothelioma received lots of training from another pleural mesothelioma expert. They are supported by a skilled team of health care professionals who also have plenty of experience caring for mesothelioma patients.
What to Consider When Choosing a Doctor
Knowledge and Experience
Mesothelioma specialists offer knowledge, experience and skill. They know the intricacies and subtleties of the disease and have access to the latest advances in technology, treatment options and clinical trials.
Pleural mesothelioma doctors with years of experience know the disease better than anyone and have the expertise to handle the challenges associated with it. The importance of working with a specialist cannot be understated.
They also have the ability to accurately diagnose this type of cancer and develop a treatment plan unique to your situation. A specialist with experience diagnosing and treating different stages and cell types of pleural mesothelioma can give you the best possible prognosis.
Doctors inexperienced with the diagnosis and treatment of mesothelioma can make a number of costly mistakes. For one, they may misdiagnose your cancer as a less severe respiratory condition, delaying proper treatment.
They could also misjudge the stage of your cancer and start a treatment plan that is ineffective for your current stage of disease.
The connection and relationship you develop with your doctor is important. Find a doctor who makes you feel comfortable, and one who is accessible and open to discussions about your goals and concerns.
Ask yourself if you feel like you can communicate clearly with the doctor you are considering. If you respect the doctor, feel comfortable around them and believe they will communicate well with you, you’ve found a good contender.
Depending on where you live, you may have to travel to see the specialist with whom you feel the most comfortable. This can be expensive, but some mesothelioma cancer centers help with transportation and lodging costs if you have to travel a considerable distance.
Traveling for treatment may sound stressful, but it could help you access top-notch care and the latest advancements in treatment. Resources for travel, such as travel grants, are available to help you cover the costs.
You’ll probably want a doctor who is part of your health care plan, a preferred provider or at least a doctor who accepts your insurance. It is no surprise that medical bills can add up, even with an in-network doctor.
Insurance companies are notorious for denying coverage, but you can appeal denied claims and learn more about financial assistance options.
Top Pleural Mesothelioma Doctors
Dr. Cameron is a pioneer of lung-sparing surgery for early-stage pleural mesothelioma. Cameron is director of thoracic surgery at UCLA Medical Center and treats patients at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. Cameron also serves as director of the Pacific Mesothelioma Center.
Dr. Kindler is director of the Mesothelioma Program at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Kindler, whose father died from pleural mesothelioma in 2001, also is the director of the Gastrointestinal Oncology Program. She designs and oversees many of the clinical trials at the University of Chicago, including mesothelioma trials.
Dr. Fontaine is lead thoracic surgeon at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida. He has extensive experience treating pleural mesothelioma and strongly believes in collaborating with other health care professionals to give patients the best possible care. He advocates for a multimodal approach to therapy.
Dr. Lebenthal is Israeli-board certified in general surgery and thoracic surgery. He is a veteran of the Israeli Army, where he served as a physician and commanded an infantry platoon. He advocates minimally invasive surgery to speed up the recovery time, as well as tailored treatment options for each patient.
Dr. Flores is chief of thoracic surgery at the Mount Sinai Hospital, where he specializes in surgical procedures and techniques for mesothelioma. His concerns about the risks and loss of quality of life after removing an entire lung led to his research on lung-sparing surgery.
Dr. Pass is director of thoracic surgery at the NYU Langone Medical Center, where he leads a laboratory for mesothelioma research and oversees the Mesothelioma Pathogenesis Program Project. He was among the first to study the effectiveness of photodynamic therapy for pleural mesothelioma in clinical trials.
Dr. Landreneau is a thoracic surgeon working to advance surgical practices for pleural mesothelioma. Landreneau spent more than 20 years performing minimally invasive and video-assisted surgery while serving as director of the Lung Cancer Program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Dr. Rice is associate professor of surgery at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, where he specializes in thoracic and cardiovascular surgery. He is well known for his research on mesothelioma surgery. His research has helped define the staging and diagnosing procedures before surgery.
Dr. Lee is an accomplished surgeon who has pioneered new treatment methods, as well as directed multiple clinical trials focused on gene therapy and immunotherapy.
In addition to his work at UCLA, Lee also practices at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center in Los Angeles.
Dr. Robinson is director of the Division of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery at the Moffitt Cancer Center. He is most known for his expertise in aggressive surgeries for this disease. Robinson is the author or co-author of more than 150 medical publications. He also is involved in three clinical lung cancer and mesothelioma research programs.
Dr. Gharagozloo joined Florida Hospital Celebration Health in 2015. His vast experience in robotic surgery has helped the hospital improve its treatment of pleural mesothelioma patients. In fact, Gharagozloo was the first doctor to use robotic surgery to perform an extrapleural pneumonectomy on a mesothelioma patient.
Before arriving at Celebration, Gharagozloo worked at the Arizona Cancer Center in Tucson. He also served as the director of the Washington Institute of Thoracic Cardiovascular Surgery.
Dr. Dylewski is the medical director of thoracic and robotic surgery for Baptist Health South Florida, managing cases of pleural mesothelioma. He specializes in robotics and minimally invasive surgery. He developed and has taught the “Dylewski Technique,” which other surgeons have adopted for lung lobectomies, allowing patients to recover much quicker than before.
Dr. Carbone, director of Thoracic Oncology at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center, has traveled the world studying the dynamics of gene therapy to improve treatment of pleural mesothelioma.
As a pathologist, Carbone and his research team receive considerable federal funding to help move the world closer to a cure. He previously worked at the cancer center of Loyola University in Chicago and for the National Institutes of Health, where he first began studying this disease.
As an oncologist and a senior investigator at the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Hassan has played an integral role in the development of immunotherapy for the treatment of pleural mesothelioma. His work with multiple clinical trials has led the medical community closer to turning mesothelioma into a more manageable cancer.
For his efforts, Hassan has been the recipient of the ASCO Career Development Award, the NIH Patient Oriented Research Career Development Award and the Pioneer Award from the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation.
Dr. Sterman joined the Multidisciplinary Pulmonary Oncology Program at NYU in January 2015. Previously, he worked at the University of Pennsylvania’s Abramson Cancer Center for 20 years.
One of his interests is genetic immunotherapy, an innovative treatment gaining popularity among specialists who treat pleural mesothelioma patients.
Dr. Wolf is a thoracic surgeon at Mount Sinai Hospital who specializes in the treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma. She is also director of the Women’s Lung Cancer Program, which focuses on clinical research, community outreach and the multidisciplinary treatment of the cancer. She has expertise in minimally invasive and robotic surgery.
Wolf graduated with honors from Harvard Medical School. She trained at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, where she developed a passion for treating patients with this rare disease.
Common Questions for Your Doctor
- How much experience do you have treating pleural mesothelioma?
- How many years have you worked in the field?
- What cancer centers have you worked for?
- Do you have experience treating my specific subtype (cell type) of mesothelioma?
- Does this facility offer access to clinical trials?
- What treatments do you usually offer for this cancer?
- What treatments do you recommend for me?
- Do the radiologists, pathologists and other cancer doctors you work alongside also have experience treating mesothelioma?
- Can you help me find alternative and supplemental therapies beyond the standard care?
- Can you tell me the stage of my tumor and estimate my life expectancy?
- Do I have to accept all treatment recommendations?
- How will the suggested treatment plan help me? How will it affect my lifestyle?