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Choosing a Specialist

Mesothelioma specialists dedicate their lives to researching and treating this disease. These specialists can come from a variety of backgrounds but typically stem from careers in thoracic surgery, surgical oncology, cancer science research or rare cancer oncology. By choosing a mesothelioma specialist and putting yourself in their expert care, you take the initiative of increasing your life expectancy.

Fact-Checked and Updated by: Jenna Tozzi, RN

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How to Find the Right Mesothelioma Specialist

Mesothelioma specialists are surgeons or oncologists who have significant experience diagnosing or treating mesothelioma. They are highly qualified individuals with years of formal education and hands-on experience with mesothelioma.

Seeing a mesothelioma specialist who is right for your diagnosis is crucial. Mesothelioma specialists have the precise expertise needed to diagnose and treat mesothelioma. This specialization gives patients a much better chance of survival. It also helps patients better understand their disease and feel more confident in their health care team.

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Mesothelioma Specialist vs. General Oncologist

Understanding the difference between a mesothelioma specialist and a general oncologist is important. Though both are experts in cancer, only a mesothelioma specialist has the expertise needed to properly diagnose and treat mesothelioma patients.

Mesothelioma is a rare disease with only 3,000 diagnoses each year. On the other hand, common cancers like lung cancer have over 200,000 diagnoses each year. Oncologists deal with many types of cancer, but mesothelioma is not usually one of them.

General oncologists work at hospitals that are not updated with latest treatment practices, diagnostic tools and mesothelioma research. Mesothelioma specialists work in mesothelioma cancer centers specifically dedicated to treating and researching mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma specialists have done residencies in cardiothoracic and/or gastrointestinal surgeries. Many of them sit on the boards of major mesothelioma research foundations. Some have even founded treatment and research programs themselves. This dedication to the field of mesothelioma research cannot be matched by a general oncologist.

Why You Need a Mesothelioma Specialist

There are many reasons why you and your family must work with a mesothelioma specialist. No other type of physician can give you a better chance of survival than a mesothelioma specialist.

It is important to see a mesothelioma specialist for these reasons:

Accurate Diagnosis

A mesothelioma specialist has the diagnostic knowledge and tools to accurately identify your condition. There are many factors to look at when diagnosing mesothelioma. Many general oncologists may not be aware of these factors.

Mesothelioma specialists look for diagnostic factors including:

  • Mesothelioma or another malignancy
  • Location of mesothelioma (pleural, peritoneal or pericardial)
  • Mesothelioma cell type (epithelioid, sarcomatoid or biphasic)
  • Mesothelioma stage and whether it is localized or advanced

It is important to consider these factors because each one will determine your prognosis and treatment plan.

Personalized Treatment

Based on your diagnosis, you can then work with a mesothelioma doctor who specializes in treating your exact diagnosis. For example, some mesothelioma doctors only work with stage 1 and 2 pleural mesothelioma patients. Other doctors may specialize in sarcomatoid mesothelioma, a rare mesothelioma cancer cell type. This provides patients with more personalized treatment plans tailored to the specific details of their diagnosis.

Improved Prognosis

A specialist can significantly improve your prognosis by obtaining the right diagnosis and treatment plan. Specialists dedicate their lives to increasing mesothelioma survival rates. Their up-to-date treatments and procedures help you extend your life expectancy as much as possible.

Professional Explanation

Mesothelioma specialists know the disease inside and out. With this knowledge, they can accurately and compassionately explain the details of the disease to patients. Specialists can also realistically explain to patients what to expect from their diagnosis. This knowledge gives patients and their families the confidence that they are receiving the best care.

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Working With a Specialist

Mesothelioma is an aggressive disease. It is important that patients do not settle for working with a general oncologist. You deserve the best care possible from a mesothelioma specialist. Seeing a general oncologist can result in a misdiagnosis and wasted time.

Working with a mesothelioma specialist can give you an accurate diagnosis, optimal treatment plan and a better chance of survival. It can also lower risks to your health. Specialists provide peace of mind because you will know that you are working with the best professionals in the field.

Ask your doctor for a referral to one of the many mesothelioma doctors and specialized cancer centers.

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. American Cancer Society. (2018, November 16). Questions to Ask About Malignant Mesothelioma. Retrieved February 14, 2024, from

  2. Cancer Research UK. (2023, May 19). Referral to a specialist for symptoms of mesothelioma. Retrieved February 14, 2024, from

How We Can Help

Mesothelioma Hope is passionate about helping patients and families affected by this aggressive cancer. A mesothelioma diagnosis can be scary and isolating, but we’re here for you at every step. Hope is only a phone call away.

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