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West Los Angeles VA Medical Center

West Los Angeles VA Medical Center treats U.S. military veterans with mesothelioma from across the country. This medical center’s mesothelioma program is run by Dr. Robert B. Cameron, a world-renowned cancer specialist who invented pleural mesothelioma surgery that does not require the removal of your lung.

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About the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center

The West Los Angeles VA Medical Center is a top treatment center for military veterans with mesothelioma. U.S. veterans with health care from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) can come here to get treated for pleural mesothelioma.

The West Los Angeles VA Medical Center is part of the VA Greater Los Angeles Health Care System (VAGLAHS). As one of the VA’s largest health care facilities, VAGLAHS serves more than 1.4 million veterans in Los Angeles, Ventura, Kern, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo counties.

Here are some things to know about the West Los Angeles VA:

  • The mesothelioma program is run by Dr. Robert Cameron, creator of a crucial lung-sparing mesothelioma surgery called the pleurectomy with decortication (P/D) procedure
  • Mesothelioma patients typically receive multimodal treatment that includes long-term maintenance to minimize recurrence (when cancer returns).
  • Treatments include surgery, immunotherapy, cryotherapy (freeze therapy), chemotherapy, radiation, and more.

Eligibility to be treated at this VA hospital is open to any veteran with mesothelioma. You do not need to live in the Los Angeles area.

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U.S. Military Veterans and Mesothelioma

The VA has invested in developing one of the nation’s top mesothelioma treatment programs at the West Los Angeles VA. This is because one-third of mesothelioma patients are veterans.

A comprehensive and highly specialized mesothelioma treatment program within the VA health care system gives veterans with mesothelioma access to high-quality, affordable health care.

While not all veterans seek mesothelioma treatment through the VA, the option to do so is a major advantage for many.

Mesothelioma Specialists at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center

Patients treated at the West Los Angeles VA have the advantage of access to Dr. Robert B. Cameron — one of the top mesothelioma specialists treating military veterans at VA hospitals. He is the head of the Mesothelioma Program at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center.

Dr. Cameron has been treating pleural mesothelioma patients for over 20 years and developed the P/D surgery to treat patients without removing a lung. This allows patients to recover in less time than if a lung was removed and comes with a lower risk of complications. He’s performed this surgery hundreds of times on mesothelioma patients.

Dr. Cameron is also the co-founder and former director of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation — the first medical research foundation specializing in mesothelioma diagnosis and treatment.

In addition, Dr. Cameron has written or co-authored more than 35 peer-reviewed papers in oncology, thoracic surgery, and other related subjects, making him an authority in mesothelioma treatment and research.

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Mesothelioma Treatment at West Los Angeles VA Medical Center

The West Los Angeles VA Medical Center can use a variety of mesothelioma treatments to help patients live longer.

Mesothelioma treatments used at the West Los Angeles VA include:

  • Pleurectomy with decortication (P/D): In this lung-sparing surgery, the lung’s lining is removed to eliminate tumors. This allows doctors to remove as much cancer as possible while keeping the patient’s lungs intact. The alternative is lung-removal surgery, which offers a similar survival time but a higher risk of complications.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells by circulating them through the blood.
  • Cryoablation: In cryoablation, the cancer is frozen with a gas pumped through a tiny needle called a cryoprobe. This freezing process kills the cancer cells.
  • Immunotherapy: With immunotherapy, a patient is given specialized drugs to stimulate the body’s immune system so it can kill cancer cells. Immunotherapy shows the immune system how to recognize cancer cells and teaches the body how to fight them.
  • Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT): In IMRT, a computer is used to control X-ray accelerators to give a high-level dosage of radiation directly to the tumor while minimizing the damage to surrounding tissues.
  • Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT): SBRT, also known as radiosurgery, happens over a relatively short period (less than two weeks instead of 6-8 weeks like many other radiotherapies). Using the Novalis Tx image-guided system, the patient is given a highly concentrated dose of radiation via image-guided localization to kill the tumor without severely damaging the healthy organs.
  • Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (VATS): To determine which cell type a patient has (which can impact treatment options), a surgeon will remove a small part of the diseased lung through 3 small incisions.

West Los Angeles VA Medical Center can treat any mesothelioma cell type, including the typically hard-to-treat sarcomatoid mesothelioma.

In addition, as part of the patient’s long-term support, they will be seen for follow-up visits every 3-6 months. They will receive regular CT scans so their medical team can catch the cancer’s return as early as possible (if it comes back at all).

Thanks to these treatment options and support, veterans get the highest-quality care possible. For example, the VA recently profiled a U.S. Army veteran with mesothelioma who was treated by Dr. Cameron at the West Los Angeles VA.

While most mesothelioma patients only live 12-21 months, this veteran is still alive today after being diagnosed in 2015 thanks to the care he received at the West Los Angeles VA.

Getting Mesothelioma Treatment at West Los Angeles VA Medical Center

Veterans seeking mesothelioma treatment at West Los Angeles VA Medical Center don’t need to worry if they live outside of California.

The mesothelioma program accepts veterans from across the country due to the specialized nature of the disease. However, veterans need to be enrolled in the VA Health Care System, which doesn’t always happen automatically.

To receive help through this process, contact our Patient Advocates. They can answer your questions and connect you with a VA Claims Agent.

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Mesothelioma Hope has no affiliation with and is not endorsed or sponsored by Dr. Robert B. Cameron. The contact information above is listed for informational purposes only. You have the right to contact Dr. Cameron directly.

Mesothelioma Hope has no affiliation with and is not endorsed or sponsored by West Los Angeles VA. Any contact information listed is for informational purposes only. You have the right to contact West Los Angeles VA directly.

Jenna TozziWritten by:

Director of Patient Advocacy

Jenna Tozzi, RN, is the Director of Patient Advocacy at Mesothelioma Hope. With more than 15 years of experience as an adult and pediatric oncology nurse navigator, Jenna provides exceptional guidance and support to mesothelioma patients and their loved ones. Jenna has been featured in Oncology Nursing News and is a member of the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators & the American Nurses Association.

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  1. Lee, S. (n.d.). Chemotherapy. Canadian Cancer Society. Retrieved May 7, 2024, from
  2. UCLA Health System. (n.d.). Robert B. Cameron, MD. Retrieved May 7, 2024, from
  3. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (n.d.). VA Greater Los Angeles Health Care. Retrieved May 7, 2024, from
  4. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2022, October 12). Veterans Asbestos Exposure. Retrieved May 7, 2024, from
  5. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2023, April 5). Retrieved May 7, 2024, from
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