Mesothelioma Doctors

Mesothelioma is a rare and complex disease that requires expert medical care. Thankfully, experienced mesothelioma doctors can create treatment plans to help patients live longer. Patients should choose a mesothelioma specialist based on the doctor’s experience with their mesothelioma type, cell type, and prognosis. Learn more about finding a top mesothelioma specialist near you.

Top Mesothelioma Doctors

Mesothelioma doctors specialize in diagnosing, treating, and researching mesothelioma. Since malignant mesothelioma is so rare, general cancer doctors (oncologists) are not as familiar with treating mesothelioma as they are with more common forms of cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), only around 3,000 new mesothelioma cases are diagnosed each year.

Patients have a better chance of living longer with mesothelioma when they receive treatment from the best doctors in the field. These top mesothelioma oncologists work at renowned cancer centers in multidisciplinary teams to create effective treatment plans.

Types of mesothelioma doctors include:

  • Medical oncologists: These doctors treat mesothelioma with chemotherapy and other medications.
  • Radiation oncologists: Radiologists treat mesothelioma with radiation therapy.
  • Surgical oncologists: Surgeons treat mesothelioma by performing surgery.

Mesothelioma doctors often specialize in one type of mesothelioma since cancer requires vastly different treatments depending on where it first develops. That said, all doctors agree that patients often have better outcomes if the cancer is diagnosed early on, as cancer will be easier to treat.

It is important that you get the best care possible to treat your mesothelioma. Use our Doctor Match program to find a mesothelioma specialist near you.

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Pleural Mesothelioma Doctors

It is crucial to find a mesothelioma doctor who specializes in the type of mesothelioma you have been diagnosed with. This ensures you are getting the best care possible.

Pleural mesothelioma specialists are doctors that treat mesothelioma that forms in the lining of the lungs (pleura).

In the last 20 years, some of these mesothelioma experts have pioneered groundbreaking new methods of surgery that have resulted in more positive outcomes for patients.

Find top pleural mesothelioma specialists below.

Dr. Raja Flores

  • Chairman of the Department of Thoracic Surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York
  • Established the video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) lobectomy program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York
  • Can perform both of the top pleural mesothelioma surgeries: extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) and pleurectomy with decortication (P/D)
  • Mentored by the late world-renowned surgeon Dr. David Sugarbaker
  • Almost 30 years of experience

Dr. Raphael Bueno

  • Director of the International Mesothelioma Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston
  • Chief of Thoracic Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital
  • Co-director of Brigham and Women’s Lung Center
  • Over 20 years of experience

Dr. Marcelo DaSilva

  • Chief of Thoracic Surgery Services and Medical Director at the Cancer Institute at AdventHealth in Orlando, FL
  • Specializes in and developed heated chemotherapy for pleural mesothelioma
  • Experience in treating both pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma
  • Over 20 years of experience

Dr. Taylor Ripley

  • Director of the Mesothelioma Treatment Center at Baylor College of Medicine’s Lung Institute in Houston
  • Specializes in robotic thoracic surgery and video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS)
  • Conducts research in cancer profiling and cellular mutations
  • Over 15 years of experience

These thoracic surgeons are only a handful of top pleural mesothelioma specialists around the country. Use our Doctor Match program today to find a top mesothelioma doctor that can best treat you in your area.

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Peritoneal Mesothelioma Doctors

Peritoneal mesothelioma doctors treat cancer in the lining of the abdominal cavity (the peritoneum) and nearby organs. Mesothelioma in this area can result in numerous tumors throughout the inside of the abdomen.

Learn more about top peritoneal mesothelioma doctors below.

Dr. Paul Sugarbaker

Retired as of 2020, Dr. Paul Sugarbaker was the previous director of the Center for Surgical Oncology at the Washington Cancer Institute in Washington, D.C. Dr. Sugarbaker revolutionized the landscape of peritoneal mesothelioma treatment and is considered one of the nation’s most talented gastrointestinal surgeons. He is the older brother to the late Dr. David Sugarbaker who specialized in pleural mesothelioma.

Dr. Paul Sugarbaker pioneered the use of cytoreductive surgery with HIPEC, also known as “the Sugarbaker Technique,” to treat peritoneal mesothelioma. The Sugarbaker Technique has proved to be incredibly successful, yielding an average 5-year patient survival rate.

Dr. James Pingpank

  • Surgical oncologist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC)
  • Specializes in cytoreduction with heated chemotherapy (HIPEC)
  • Conducts clinical research on the impact genomic biomarkers have on mesothelioma
  • Over 25 years of experience

Dr. Hedy Lee Kindler

  • Director of the Mesothelioma Program and the Director of Gastrointestinal Oncology at the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Specializes in cytoreduction with HIPEC, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy
  • Researches new treatment methods for both pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma
  • Over 30 years of experience

Dr. Richard Alexander

  • Chief Surgical Officer at Rutgers Cancer Institute in New Brunswick, NJ
  • Former medical officer in the U.S. Navy
  • Specializes in cytoreduction with HIPEC and targeted therapy
  • Over 40 years of experience

Dr. Mecker Möller

  • Leader of the cytoreductive surgery and hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) program at the University of Miami
  • Affiliated with both the Sylvester Cancer Center and Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami
  • Specializes in HIPEC procedures
  • Over 15 years of experience

Other Pleural and Peritoneal Mesothelioma Doctors

Other Types of Mesothelioma Doctors

The vast majority of mesothelioma cases are pleural or peritoneal. However, there are other rare forms of the disease including pericardial mesothelioma (which forms in the heart lining) and testicular mesothelioma (which forms in the testicle lining).

Although pericardial and testicular mesothelioma are both very rare, a handful of doctors and programs are available to treat patients.

Learn more about doctors that specialize in rare types of mesothelioma below.

Pericardial Mesothelioma Doctors

Pericardial mesothelioma is extremely rare and accounts for roughly 1% of the 3,000 new mesothelioma cases annually. Doctors can treat pericardial mesothelioma by surgically removing tumors from the heart lining (pericardium).

Unfortunately, many cases of pericardial mesothelioma go undetected until the patient has passed and an autopsy is performed.

Very few surgeons possess the expertise needed to diagnose and treat patients with pericardial mesothelioma. However, a few of the nation’s top pleural mesothelioma surgeons are also trained cardiac surgeons, such as Dr. Amit Patel.

Testicular Mesothelioma Doctors

Testicular mesothelioma is even rarer than pericardial mesothelioma. Testicular mesothelioma causes a tumor in the lining surrounding the testes (tunica vaginalis) and causes fluid buildup in the scrotum.

Due to its extreme rarity, there are very few doctors that have seen and diagnosed even one case of testicular mesothelioma. However, patients can ask their doctor to check if there is a buildup of fluid in the scrotum and recommend cancer specialists that can help treat their condition.

Dr. Yigit Akin and his colleagues at the Department of Urology at Hurran University School of Medicine in Sanliurfa, Turkey published a paper on the condition, calling urologists to check for the possibility of this rare cancer when diagnosing patients with testicular cancers.

What to Look for in a Mesothelioma Doctor

It is important to choose the right mesothelioma doctor for you since you are putting so much trust into their work. You and your family should feel comfortable with your care team and trust that you are in good hands.

When choosing a mesothelioma expert, it is critical that you find a doctor that specializes in your specific diagnosis. Doctors that have seen cases similar to yours will know which cancer treatment options may be available to help you live longer or ease symptoms.

There are several important characteristics to take into consideration when seeking treatment from a mesothelioma specialist.

Learn more about what to look for in your mesothelioma doctor below.

Experience

It is crucial to learn how much experience the mesothelioma doctor that you are considering has with diagnosing and treating patients.

Since every patient is different, health care professionals who have seen many mesothelioma patients will have more experience and a deeper fund of knowledge. This can help them understand which treatment methods will be most effective to treat your disease.

Communication

Since mesothelioma is such an uncommon and complicated disease, most people know little about it until they are faced with it. You need a doctor who can clearly, patiently, and kindly explain your diagnosis to you and your loved ones.

Find a doctor willing to take the time to answer your questions and concerns with care and competence. Top mesothelioma doctors will be compassionate and thorough when it comes to explaining your disease and treatment options.

Location

Another important element to factor in when choosing a mesothelioma specialist is their location.

There are plenty of cancer centers in the United States that employ top mesothelioma specialists near you so you can get treatment nearby.

If you do have to travel a long distance for cancer care, see if your doctor and/or hospital can recommend resources to cover travel and lodging expenses.

Treatment Options

It is important to consider the treatment options each doctor provides when choosing a specialist. Different mesothelioma doctors provide different treatment options depending on their specialty.

Common mesothelioma treatment options include:

  • Surgery to remove all or some of the tumors or relieve symptoms
  • Chemotherapy to kill cancer cells in the affected area
  • Radiation to kill cancer cells in localized areas
  • Clinical trials to test newly developed drugs and their effect on fighting your cancer

The best mesothelioma doctor for you can depend on the kind of treatment that will most effectively fight your mesothelioma.

There are many factors to take into account when searching for the best mesothelioma expert to treat your condition. Download our free Questions to Ask Your Doctor Checklist today to ensure you get all the answers you need when meeting with mesothelioma doctors.

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How to Prepare for a Mesothelioma Specialist Appointment

During your first appointment, the mesothelioma specialist will generally discuss your diagnosis, symptoms, prior test results, medical history, and potential treatment methods for your condition.

You should prepare for your first appointment with a mesothelioma doctor as much as you can to make the most of your time with them.

The following may help you prepare for an appointment with a mesothelioma doctor:

  • Bring a list of questions so you do not forget to ask them during the appointment.
  • Compose a list of your mesothelioma symptoms and daily medications.
  • Create a summary of your medical and work history to highlight any asbestos exposure.
  • Make sure you have medical records and hard copies of scans. If possible, arrange for the doctor to access your records digitally ahead of time.

These preparations should help the mesothelioma specialist give you as much useful information as quickly as possible.

You will receive a lot of information during your visit, so you may want to bring a notepad and pen to take notes if necessary. Also, see if a trusted loved one will come to your appointment to provide an extra pair of ears and emotional support. It can be helpful later when you are making decisions about the next steps in the treatment process.

Find a Mesothelioma Doctor Near You

A mesothelioma diagnosis can be devastating, overwhelming, and confusing. It is incredibly important to stay hopeful during this difficult time.

Thankfully, there are many experienced mesothelioma specialists available to help patients like you. Top mesothelioma doctors have the experience and resources to improve the quality of life for all types of mesothelioma patients.

The first step in fighting this disease is to find a trusted mesothelioma doctor. You can access these cutting-edge treatments with renowned mesothelioma doctors available across the country.

Use our Doctor Match tool to find a top mesothelioma doctor near you today.

Mesothelioma Doctor FAQs

Why should I see a mesothelioma specialist?

Mesothelioma experts often have decades of experience in treating all types of mesothelioma and can tailor treatments to a patient’s specific diagnosis.

Since mesothelioma is a very rare and aggressive disease, many general oncologists do not have the knowledge or resources to treat it. Working with a specialist may ensure you are getting the best treatment possible.

How does a doctor diagnose mesothelioma?

The first step in diagnosing mesothelioma is conducting imaging scans such as X-rays, CT (computer tomography) scans, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans, or PET (positron emission tomography) scans to find initial signs of cancer.

If the doctor finds any signs of mesothelioma, they will then conduct a biopsy to collect tissue or fluid samples from the affected area and examine them for cancer cells. Biopsies are the only way to confirm a mesothelioma diagnosis.

Working with a mesothelioma doctor is the best way to ensure you get an accurate diagnosis and promptly start treatment.

Should I get a second opinion from a mesothelioma doctor?

You should get a second opinion if you believe you have been misdiagnosed or want another expert opinion on your diagnosis.

How do I find a mesothelioma doctor near me?

Thankfully, there are many mesothelioma specialists and cancer centers across the nation. Use our Doctor Match tool today to find a mesothelioma doctor near you.

Reviewed by:Dr. Mark Levin

Certified Oncologist and Hematologist

  • Fact-Checked
  • Editor

Mark Levin, MD has nearly 30 years of experience in academic and community hematology and oncology. In addition to serving as Chief or Director at four different teaching institutions throughout his life, he is also still a practicing clinician, has taught and designed formal education programs, and has authored numerous publications in various fields related to hematology and oncology.

Dr. Mark Levin is an independently paid medical reviewer.

Mesothelioma Hope was founded by a team of advocates to educate people about this aggressive form of cancer. Mesothelioma affects thousands of people each year. We help give hope to those impacted by mesothelioma.

4 references
  1. Baylor College of Medicine. (n.d.) Dr. David J. Sugarbaker, MD. Retrieved from https://www.bcm.edu/people/view/david-sugarbaker-m-d/8a46e330-b193-11e3-a42d-005 056b104be.
  2. Baylor College of Medicine. (n.d.) Dr. David J. Sugarbaker, MD. Retrieved from https://www.bcm.edu/people/view/david-sugarbaker-m-d/8a46e330-b193-11e3-a42d-005 056b104be.
  3. Darlison, L., Taylor, B., Harrison, M., Gardiner, C., & Ejegi-Memeh, S. (2021). Understanding the palliative care needs and experiences of people with mesothelioma and their family carers: An integrative systematic review. Retrieved April 15, 2021, from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/02692163211007379
  4. MedStar Health Research Institute. (n.d.) Paul Sugarbaker. Retrieved from https://www.medstarhealth.org/mhri/physician-investigator/paul-sugarbaker/#q=.

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