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About the Brigham & Women’s Hospital
Brigham & Women’s Hospital’s Division of Thoracic Surgery is an American pioneer in mesothelioma research, teaching, and health care.
Hundreds of mesothelioma patients visit BWH yearly for the best available treatment. Newly diagnosed patients receive a primary consultation for optimal mesothelioma therapy based on their genetic makeup and disease stage.
The Brigham & Women’s Hospital is associated with the Dana-Faber Cancer Institute. It’s an outstanding partnership between two world-class medical facilities located in the greater Boston area.
The thoracic surgical team is board-certified and on the faculty at Harvard Medical School.
In 2002, Brigham and Women’s Hospital helped found The International Mesothelioma Program (IMP), which is one of the largest in this specialized medical field.
Scientific advancements and increased mesothelioma knowledge led to BWH opening The Lung Center and Lung Research Center in 2015. It’s where their mesothelioma program now operates.
Patience Care at Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Dedicated to delivering care that puts patients first, surgeons at BWH perform procedures like pleurectomy and pneumonectomy using minimal invasion with robotic-assisted technology and video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) — treatment approaches that reduce the risk of surgical complications and improve patient recovery times.
The staff at BWH commit to a collaborative approach to mesothelioma treatment. Treatment plans involve everyone from the head surgeons to the individual patient.
The BWH care model prides itself on open communication, creating a patient-focused care plan considering personal needs. A cohesive team approach with supportive clinical and administrative professionals ensures the best possible care for each patient.
Patients arriving at the BWH meet many of the team members. They carefully review medical history and provide a complete diagnostic examination by a certified thoracic surgeon trained in treating mesothelioma.
Support for patients and families consists of medical intervention, social work, chaplaincy, and patient liaison. Practical needs like housing, travel, and financial care are addressed and assisted.
Staff at Brigham & Women’s Hospital
Brigham & Women’s Hospital hosts some of the top mesothelioma experts found anywhere in the world.
The mesothelioma program at BWH was established by the late Dr. David Sugarbaker — a highly-respected mesothelioma surgeon and researcher who dedicated 25 years of experience at BWH.
After Dr. Sugarbaker left BWH to build a comprehensive mesothelioma treatment program in Houston, BWH’s mesothelioma leadership was placed in the capable hands of Dr. Raphael Bueno who now serves at Chief of Thoracic Surgery.
Other BWH mesothelioma practitioners are:
- Dr. Brian Whang
- Dr. Michael Seth Rabin
- Dr. Antonio Coppolino
- Dr. Scott James Swanson
- Dr. Michael Jaklitsch
- Dr. Lucian Chirieac
- Dr. Jonathan Alfred Fletcher
- Dr. Lynette Sholl
- Dr. Edmund Saulius Cibas
- Dr. Robert Padera
Supporting the BWH surgical team is a core group of physician assistants, patient coordinators, and clerical staff. These dedicated professionals integrate the skills of specialists in dozens of disciplines.
Mesothelioma is a primary disease treated at BWH but other lung disorders such as asbestosis and lung cancer are also intervened.
Therapy addresses unique patient needs and delivers the latest innovations in diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.
Most mesothelioma treatment occurs at the Brigham & Women’s main facility in Boston.
Staff co-work and coordinate with other professionals at South Shore’s Weymouth campus as well as facilities like the Harvard School of Public Health, the Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Boston Veterans Affairs Health Care System.
Working together, the staff at all facilities deliver the best mesothelioma care available.
BWH Mesothelioma Treatment Options
The Brigham & Women’s Hospital developed a unique and innovative test in their oncology lab.
Called the four-gene ratio test, it determines the best mesothelioma therapeutic treatment options based on a patient’s individual characteristics.
Tissues from collected tumors determine the probable outcome of various intervention procedures based on genetic information.
This results in a selection of these treatment options:
- Extrapleural Pneumonectomy (EPP): A severe, invasive surgical procedure, the EPP is usually performed on patients with early-stage mesothelioma. The affected lung is removed as well as other diseased tissues. BWH surgeons have an impressive record of success using EPP procedures.
- Pleurectomy/Decortication (P/D): Two separate procedures are used with P/D. Pleurectomy involves opening the thorax and removing the diseased lung lining. Decortication meticulously removes cancerous regions extending into other areas of the lung or adjacent organs.
- Robotic Surgery: If possible, BWH surgeons prefer using robotics rather than open-chest surgery. Video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) is minimally-invasive, improving recovery time. Robotics are becoming so advanced that they’re replacing most open EPP and P/D procedures.
- Chemotherapy: BWH commonly uses chemotherapy in conjunction with surgery and radiation treatment. Chemo is also used as a stand-alone treatment for advanced-stage mesothelioma when surgical intervention is no longer possible.
- Radiation Therapy: Radiation oncologists at BWH employ intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) to shrink mesothelioma tumors. High-energy beams get directed at cancerous regions to kill cancerous cells but protect healthy tissues. BWH radiation therapists have the most advanced equipment available that allows for minimal incidental tissue damage.
Brigham & Women’s Hospital treats three types of mesothelioma cases.
One is pleural mesothelioma which is the most common. Approximately 80% of mesothelioma cases involve the lung lining (pleura). BWH also treats peritoneal (abdominal lining) and pericardial (heart lining) mesothelioma.
Like most United States health facilities specializing in mesothelioma surgery and treatment, the BWH team is most familiar with pleural mesothelioma treatment options.
Clinical Trials, Studies, and Research at BWH
The world’s mesothelioma medical community has a much better understanding of this disease thanks to clinical trials, research, and studies done at BWH’s International Mesothelioma Project Laboratory.
Groundbreaking research at Brigham & Women’s Hospital set the bar for mesothelioma procedure and scientific excellence.
Surgeons at BHW are constantly making medical advances and work on dozens of clinical trials and research projects at any particular time.
Researchers develop new pharmaceutical drugs at the research division at the International Mesothelioma Program. Medications are based on the patient’s tumor biological makeup and administered according to genetic responses.
These studies result in clinical trials that are proving to be highly effective in treating mesothelioma.
Treatment trials involve active intervention on mesothelioma patients while non-treatment trials aimed at improving a patient’s life quality.
BWH Insurance Information
Brigham & Women’s Hospital recognizes most major health insurance, providers.
Patients are advised to check with their specific insurer prior to confirming BWH treatment. Partners Healthcare organizes insurance providers for most Boston hospitals including BWH.
Recognized insurance providers include:
- Commonwealth Care Alliance
- Fallon Community Health Plan
- Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
- Neighborhood Health Plan
- Tufts Health Plan
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
- HealthNet Federal Services VA Choice
- Private Healthcare Systems/MultiPlan Inc.
- Transplant Centers of Excellence Networks
Brigham & Women’s Hospital dedicates itself to exceptional core values. They believe in training socially responsible and clinically excellent health care leaders who are innovative and compassionate.
For those reasons, BHW continues attracting top mesothelioma treatment talent from around the world.
Seeking Mesothelioma Treatment at BWH
Brigham and Women’s Hospital is world-renowned for its comprehensive mesothelioma treatment program.
Having been established by the top oncological surgeons specializing in mesothelioma, BWH continues to strive for excellence in patient care.
Their commitment to quality mesothelioma treatment spans across the entire patient experience from start to finish, including their devotion to tailor-made treatment plans.
For more information on working with the experts at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, contact us today.
We’re happy to answer any questions you have about getting treatment at BWH or any of the other top mesothelioma treatment facilities in the country.