The Best Mesothelioma Doctors In The World

Mesothelioma Doctors

Mesothelioma doctors specialize in treating patients with mesothelioma—a rare cancer of the lining of the body’s organs, called the mesothelium—and other asbestos-related cancers. These physicians have years of specialized practice and expert knowledge in the field of mesothelioma, and as such are the most well equipped to help patients through their illness.

Mesothelioma doctors are trained in a very specific area of oncology, or cancer. Individuals who are exposed to asbestos through their work or service in the military are at risk of developing this rare cancer decades after they have been exposed to it. The source of the cancer is the asbestos fibers, which are sharp but microscopic, so that they pass through the lungs’ natural filtration system and embed themselves in the mesothelium. Over time, they irritate and change the composition of the cells, leading to the development of a diffuse, wide-spreading tumor. The disease is often asymptomatic—for up to 50 years, in some cases—which means that it can advance quite far before being diagnosed.

When an individual does develop the symptoms of mesothelioma, their general practitioner may initially misdiagnose the ailment, since these symptoms often resemble those of other conditions. If the physician is aware that the patient was previously exposed to asbestos, especially over a prolonged period of time, the likelihood of properly diagnosing the mesothelioma is greater.

In order to properly diagnose a patient with mesothelioma, the doctor must conduct a thorough examination of the patient. This includes conducting a full physical exam to better understand the patient’s overall mental and physical health, including an analysis of the patient’s symptoms. Symptoms of mesothelioma include difficulty breathing, coughing, abdominal or chest pain. 

In order for mesothelioma doctors to make a proper diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma, the physician must either do a needle biopsy or an open biopsy. A needle biopsy is not as intrusive as an open biopsy, because the physician inserts a thin needle into the area of the body where the mass is located, remove some of the suspected cancer cells, and then send them to the lab for further testing. An open biopsy, however, is much more common in suspected mesothelioma cases, and involves the surgeon opening up the patient’s body to excise a portion of the suspected tumor. As with the needle biopsy, doctors send the sample to a lab where a pathologist will look closely at the sampled cells and decide whether they are benign or malignant. If they are malignant, the pathologist will also determine the histology of the cells, or the cell type. There are three types of mesothelioma cells: epithelioid, sarcomatoid and biphasic, or mixed. The type of cell present may help determine treatment.

Once the lab specialist evaluates the sample, he or she will send the results back to the mesothelioma doctor, who will then notify the patient of the results. Either way, the doctor will discuss treatment options with the patient at this time.

If the cells are malignant, the mesothelioma doctor will refer the patient to another oncologist who is better prepared to treat the individual’s cancer. If it is benign, the doctor will most likely discuss surgical options to remove the mass. Cases of benign mesothelioma are relatively rare.

The oncologist will provide the mesothelioma patient with counseling as to the prognosis, as well as treatment options. Often oncologists prescribe chemotherapy treatments or radiation to slow the growth of the cancerous cells, possibly followed by surgery to remove any eligible tumors. If chemotherapy and/or surgery are not options, the oncologist will counsel the patient and discuss pain management methods with him or her.

Mesothelioma doctors are an important link in the chain of professional healthcare providers that victims of asbestos-related cancers rely on. They work together with general practitioners, pathologists, radiation oncologists, surgical oncologists, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, nutritionists and hospice workers to make sure that patients receive the best treatment and diligent care available for their illness.

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