West Los Angeles VA

The West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical Center is part of the VA Greater Los Angeles Health Care System. Although located in southern California, the West LA VA Medical Center treats United States military veterans from across America. The WLA VA center has one of the best malignant mesothelioma treatment programs anywhere in the nation. That includes other VA centers and many private mesothelioma treatment facilities.

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.

About West Los Angeles VA

West Los Angeles VA is a top treatment center for military veterans to receive care for mesothelioma.

It’s part of the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System (VAGLAHS) — one of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ largest healthcare facilities.

VAGLAHS is a comprehensive treatment center home to:

  • 2 ambulatory care facility
  • 1 tertiary care hospital
  • 8 outpatient clinics

VAGLAHS serves more than 1.4 million veterans in Los Angeles, Ventura, Kern, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo counties.

VAGLAHS is also a part of the Department of Veterans Affairs medical education program.

More than 500 residents, interns, and other students are trained in different hospitals throughout the year. These students come from UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine and USC School of Medicine, as well as many other colleges, universities, and vocational schools.

Did You Know?

One thing that is unique about West Los Angeles VA is that it is one few places equipped to treat every type of mesothelioma, including sarcomatoid.

The hospital is also known for its multimodal treatment approach that combines pleurectomy/decortication surgery with cryoablation and immunotherapy.

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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 because one-third of mesothelioma patients are veterans.

Having a comprehensive and highly specialized mesothelioma treatment program within the VA Healthcare System gives veterans with mesothelioma access to high-quality, affordable health care.

While not all veterans choose to pursue mesothelioma treatment through the VA, for many the option is a major advantage.

West Los Angeles VA Location and Overview

Here is what veterans should know about working with West Los Angeles VA:

  • The program is run by Dr. Robert Cameron, creator of a lung-sparing surgery and one of the top mesothelioma experts in North America.
  • Patients receive multimodal treatment that includes long-term maintenance to minimize recurrence (when the cancer comes back).
  • The West Los Angeles VA specialists are experts at treating sarcomatoid mesothelioma — the least common type of mesothelioma and the most difficult to manage.

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Mesothelioma Specialists at West Los Angeles VA

Patients working with West Los Angeles VA Healthcare System have the advantage of working with Dr. Robert Cameron — one of 2 top mesothelioma specialists working with military veterans.

Visit the UCLA Health website to learn more about Dr. Robert Cameron.

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.

Dr. Cameron is currently the head of the UCLA Comprehensive Mesothelioma Program and the Mesothelioma Program at the West Los Angeles VA. Both of these programs are highly respected mesothelioma treatment centers in the United States.

The UCLA Comprehensive Mesothelioma Program is often considered the best program of its kind on the West Coast because of Dr. Cameron’s guidance and vision as he built up these programs.

In addition to being the heads of those two programs, Dr. Cameron is also the co-founder and former director of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation — the first medical research foundation to specialize in mesothelioma diagnosis and treatment.

Dr. Cameron has been treating pleural mesothelioma for more than 20 years and has made many contributions to mesothelioma treatment development.

For example, he developed the pleurectomy/decortication (P/D) procedure, which he has performed on more than 300 patients.

He has also 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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Treatments Offered at West Los Angeles VA

Across the country, experts agree that the best way to treat mesothelioma is with a multimodal approach.

This means patients will see a variety of different experts in different fields who are working together to ensure that patients have the best possible quality of life.

While mesothelioma treatment looks slightly different for each patient, at the West Los Angeles VA it follows the basic path of surgery, radiation, and long-term maintenance.

As part of the patient’s long-term support, they will be seen for a follow-up visit every 3-6 months and will receive regular CT scans so their medical team can catch the cancers return as early as possible.

Mesothelioma patients undergoing treatment at West Los Angeles VA may receive the following therapies:

  • Pleurectomy/Decortication (P/D): In this lung-sparing surgery, the surgeon carefully removes the lung’s lining from the lung to remove tumors. Because mesothelioma spreads like a sheet throughout the lining instead of clumping up into one large tumor, it is impossible for the surgeon to remove all of the cancer without risking damage to the patient’s heart, lungs, major blood vessels, diaphragm, and ribs. Which is why in a P/D surgery, the surgeon is only trying to remove the visible cancer, which means some tumor will be left behind.
  • Bronchial and Esophageal Stent Insertion: Other surgical procedures that patients at West Los Angeles VA might undergo are inserting bronchial (airway) or esophageal stents which help the patient breathe by opening up areas that may have narrowed because of the tumors.
  • Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (VATS): To determine whether a patient has epithelioid, mixed, and sarcomatoid mesothelioma, a surgeon will remove a small part of the diseased lung through 3 small incisions.
  • 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 the surrounding tissues.
  • Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT): SBRT, which is also known as radiosurgery, happens over a relatively short period (less than two weeks instead of between 6-8 weeks like many other radiotherapies). In this procedure, the patient is given a highly concentrated dose of radiation via image-guided localization to kill the tumor without severely damaging the healthy organs.
  • Cryoablation: In cryoablation, the tumor is frozen with a gas that is pumped through a tiny needle called the cryoprobe. This freezing process kills the cancer cells.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells by circulating them through the blood. However, one of the problems with chemotherapy is that it identifies cancer cells as cells that are actively growing and dividing, which means it also attacks some normal cells like hair cells or the cells that line the digestive system because those cells also multiply and divide more quickly than other cells.
  • Immunotherapy: In 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.

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Getting Mesothelioma Treatment at West Los Angeles VA

Veterans who wish to be treated for mesothelioma at West Los Angeles VA don’t need to worry if they don’t live in one of the 5 counties that the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System serves.

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

To receive help going through this process contact our team at Mesothelioma Hope and we’ll connect you with a VA Claims Agent.

Mesothelioma Hope was founded by a team of passionate health advocates to educate people about this aggressive form of cancer. Mesothelioma affects thousands of people each year. Our team works tirelessly to give hope to those impacted by mesothelioma. Learn more about operating principles and our Editorial Guidelines.

8 References
  1. U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. “Mesothelioma Cancer Treatment.” Retrieved from: https://www.losangeles.va.gov/services/Mesothelioma.asp. Accessed May 14, 2018.

  2. U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. “About the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System.” Retrieved from: https://www.losangeles.va.gov/about/index.asp. Accessed May 14, 2018.

  3. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. “Compensation.” Retrieved from: https://www.benefits.va.gov/COMPENSATION/claims-postservice-exposures-asbestos.asp. Accessed May 14, 2018.

  4. Pacific Heart Lung & Blood Institute. “Dr. Robert Cameron, MD.” Retrieved from: http://www.phlbi.org/about/scientificadvisoryboard/dr-cameron/. Accessed May 15, 2018.

  5. Pacific Heart, Lung & Blood Institute. “Multi-Modal Management of Pleural Mesothelioma.” Retrieved from: http://www.phlbi.org/blog/2012/01/dr-robert-cameron-on-treating-mesothelioma-novel-multi-modal-approach/. Accessed May 15, 2018.

  6. Canadian Cancer Society. “Chemotherapy.” Retrieved from: http://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/diagnosis-and-treatment/chemotherapy-and-other-drug-therapies/chemotherapy/?region=on. Accessed on May 15, 2018.

  7. Mayo Clinic. “Cryoablation for Cancer.” Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/cryoablation-for-cancer/about/pac-20385216. Accessed May 15, 2018.

  8. J Bras Pneumol. “Stereotactic body radiotherapy in lung cancer: an update.” 2015 Jul-Aug; 41(4): 376–387. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4635958/#. Accessed May 15, 2018.

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