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Mesothelioma Oncologist

 What Is a Mesothelioma Doctor?

A mesothelioma doctor is a physician with the knowledge and experience required to diagnose and treat this rare disease. Compared to general oncologists, mesothelioma doctors stay current with the latest research and know the best treatments for asbestos-related illnesses.

Mesothelioma specialists include experts across many disciplines, such as surgery and radiation oncology, who specifically focus on treating asbestos-related cancer. In addition, doctors who specialize in mesothelioma cancer have experience with the various subtypes of the disease such as the pleural and peritoneal variants. 

Each variant requires different treatment methods, which general physicians and cancer centers may not provide. For example, pleural surgeons specialize in thoracic surgery, while peritoneal surgeons are experts in abdominal surgery. Therefore, finding the correct mesothelioma doctor for your unique diagnosis can improve prognosis and extend survival.

Mesothelioma Oncologist

Pleural Mesothelioma Doctors

A pleural mesothelioma doctor specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of the type of mesothelioma that develops in the lining of the lungs, known as the pleura.

  • Pleural mesothelioma oncologists specialize in diagnosing the disease and treating it with chemotherapy, immunotherapy, experimental drugs and Tumor Treating Fields therapy. They work with surgeons to administer heated intrapleural chemotherapy following surgery in certain patients.
  • These pleural mesothelioma surgeons specialize in thoracic surgeries that remove pleural tumors, including pleurectomy and decortication and extrapleural pneumonectomy. Some may also perform symptom-relieving surgeries such as pleurocentesis or talc pleurodesis.
  • Pleural mesothelioma radiologists specialize in delivering radiation therapy to the chest, specifically the narrow region where pleural tumors develop, to avoid damaging the heart and lungs.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Doctors

A peritoneal mesothelioma doctor specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of the form of mesothelioma that develops in the abdominal lining, which is known as the peritoneum.

  • Peritoneal mesothelioma oncologists specialize in treating the disease with chemotherapy, immunotherapy and experimental drugs. They work with surgeons to administer heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy immediately following surgery in patients who qualify for the combined treatment.
  • Peritoneal mesothelioma surgeons specialize in abdominal surgeries that removal peritoneal tumors, including peritonectomies and cytoreductive surgery. Some also perform symptom-controlling surgeries such as paracentesis.
  • It is rare for radiologists to specialize in peritoneal mesothelioma. Delivering radiation therapy to peritoneal tumors is dangerous because of the risk of harming nearby vital organs. The risk is high due to the way these tumors grow throughout the abdomen.

Why It’s Important to Speak to a Mesothelioma Doctor

Treating mesothelioma is a delicate and time-sensitive process. This cancer is rare and tends to spread quickly.

General oncologists often misdiagnose this disease as other, more common cancers or less severe conditions. Therefore, detecting mesothelioma early and rapid treatment can significantly affect a patient’s prognosis and life expectancy.

  • Doctors who treat mesothelioma are often part of a multidisciplinary team that includes a surgeon, medical oncologist and radiation oncologist.
  • Mesothelioma is a complex type of cancer, and these doctors often work at treatment centers that utilize the latest and best therapy options, including clinical trials.
  • Mesothelioma doctors know the signs of asbestos-related cancer, which often mimic many other cancers and illnesses.
  • They can diagnose the disease in its early stages and start the appropriate treatment promptly, which can improve mesothelioma life expectancy and prognosis.

Familiarity with this rare disease helps doctors create the best mesothelioma treatment plan possible for each patient.

It is also essential to choose a doctor who specializes in your specific mesothelioma diagnosis. For example, a surgeon specializing in pleural mesothelioma cancer isn’t helpful for patients with the peritoneal variant.

Many mesothelioma survivors credit their specialists for their extended life expectancy. In addition, you may have access to top mesothelioma treatments in your state. However, some patients might have to travel long distances to continue treatments and checkups with their doctor.

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