Why Talk to a Mesothelioma Specialist?

Because mesothelioma is so rare, most doctors have never treated a mesothelioma patient before. Even many oncologists — doctors who specialize in treating cancer — haven’t directly dealt with the disease. That’s why it’s vital that you locate a treatment facility with qualified doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating mesothelioma. These care centers offer mesothelioma patients the latest medical technology and cancer treatment options, including access to clinical trials and emerging treatments that may improve a patient’s prognosis or even extend their life.


Video Transcript

“How do you pick your doctor? First of all, you need someone who has a lot of experience with mesothelioma. There’s not too many of us out there in the country. Many doctors don’t know how to treat mesothelioma. So you can’t expect a patient, without a medical background to know what’s in their best interest. I think it’s up to the doctor or surgeon to help you figure that out. I think as a patient, you need to figure out, does this doctor get me? Are they seeing me as an individual, or are they just seeing me as mesothelioma? They need to know what you do for a living, what you do every day. What kind of a lifestyle do you have? Are you physically active? What is it that makes you want to live? And then, they should be able to treat you accordingly.”– Dr. Raja Flores

Most of the top medical centers and cancer institutes that specialize in treating mesothelioma are located in large cities such as Boston, New York, Pittsburgh, Houston, New Orleans, and Los Angeles. Some mesothelioma patients will already live near these hubs, but those who live farther away may find it necessary to travel for doctor’s appointments, treatment, and hospital stays. Although this can feel like an added obstacle on top of an already-difficult time, it’s important to find the best care available rather than compromise for the sake of proximity.

Luckily, most major cancer centers that specialize in treating mesothelioma offer patients resources to help make their visits as easy as possible, such as assistance with issues like short-term or long-term housing, as well as information on public transportation, dining, shopping, and more.

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Top Mesothelioma Treatment Centers

Abramson Cancer Center


Abramson Cancer Center is one of a very select group of cancer centers in the country rated ‘exceptional’ and awarded the prestigious designation of Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute. This status has been continuously awarded to the Abramson Cancer Center for more than 40 years.

Penn Medicine’s Mesothelioma and Pleural Disease Program and Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center bring together internationally renowned experts in medical, surgical, and radiation oncology who collaborate in the diagnosis, treatment, and research of mesothelioma and pleural disease.

Penn’s multidisciplinary approach to the diagnosis and treatment of mesothelioma provides better outcomes and gives you access to the most advanced treatment, surgical techniques, and clinical trials.


Brigham and Women’s Hospital


The Division of Thoracic Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) has pioneered mesothelioma care and research over the last two decades. Every year, hundreds of newly diagnosed patients come to BWH for consultation on optimal therapy for mesothelioma. BWH is a founding member of the International Mesothelioma Program, the largest mesothelioma program in the world, distinguished for patient care and research.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s board-certified thoracic surgeons have sub-specialty training and years of experience in mesothelioma, a disease that can be challenging to diagnose. BWH has expertise in the most advanced diagnostic procedures, including cervical mediastinoscopy. Their surgeons perform procedures such as pleurectomy and pneumonectomy using minimally invasive video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) and robotic-assisted technology.

All BWH surgeons are faculty at Harvard Medical School and many are physician-researchers at the forefront of new therapies and cures —advancing their studies from laboratory to direct patient care.

MD Anderson Cancer Center


MD Anderson has a team of more than 30 medical oncologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists, pulmonologists, and pathologists — all experts in their fields and in mesothelioma care — working together closely to customize the best treatment for you. A specially trained support team is part of each group.

MD Anderson’s researchers are pioneering remarkable advances to give you the best chance for fighting mesothelioma. Areas of study include more-precise ways to diagnose mesothelioma, targeted radiation therapy that focuses on cancer cells while causing the least damage to healthy cells, and novel targeted agents that help your body fight the disease. The MD Anderson team is constantly testing new boundaries with research. Because of this, they can offer many clinical trials (research studies) of new treatments that are not available at other centers. In fact, the dedicated mesothelioma research program at MD Anderson is one of the few in the world.

And, at MD Anderson you’re surrounded by the strength of one of the nation’s foremost comprehensive cancer centers. MD Anderson has all the support and wellness services needed to treat the whole person — not just the disease.


The Mount Sinai Hospital

New York

The Mount Sinai Hospital has one of the top cancer programs in the United States, according to the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals survey. It is a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-Designated Cancer Center.

Mount Sinai employs a level of clinical experts found only at major academic medical centers. As a nationally recognized teaching medical institution, Mount Sinai offers the most advanced treatments for patients with all types of cancer. The distinguished Mount Sinai cancer care teams — along with teams at their Cancer Network facilities — provide exceptional medical, surgical, and radiation oncology services, as well as emerging treatment options, such as immunotherapy, throughout the metropolitan area. Mount Sinai collaborates with a range of specialized centers and programs to customize a care plan for you to ensure the best possible outcome.

Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center


UCLA’s Comprehensive Mesothelioma Program uses lung-sparing surgery and innovative postoperative therapies that stress quality of life as well as survival. Patients benefit from UCLA’s expertise in performing a meticulous procedure (pleurectomy and decortication) that removes all visible tumors from the chest while sparing normal structures, such as the lung, pericardium, and diaphragm. The surgery is followed by precise radiation therapy to eradicate any remaining cancer cells and avoid injury to the preserved lung.

Recognizing that mesothelioma cannot be entirely eliminated from the body, UCLA’s physicians treat it as they would any chronic condition. That means using frequent (often daily) well-tolerated therapies to slow its growth rather than using concentrated, sometimes excessively toxic treatments. UCLA has pioneered the use of therapies such as immunotherapy and cryoablation, which have led to significant advances in the care of patients with this condition. Dr. Robert Cameron founded the program.


UChicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center


The University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center has long been a pioneer in the treatment and research of malignant mesothelioma. Their multidisciplinary team of mesothelioma experts offers a full range of tailored treatment options, from surgery and chemotherapy to radiation therapy and clinical trials of promising new treatments.

A key feature of the UC Cancer Center program is the availability of HIPEC (hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemoperfusion), a targeted treatment that delivers heated chemotherapy directly into the abdomen to kill residual cancer cells after tumor removal surgery. Thanks to this focused expertise, their mesothelioma program is one of the largest in the nation and cares for patients from throughout the United States.

The UC Cancer Center uses a team approach and holds weekly mesothelioma program meetings to discuss each patient’s care. Their comprehensive, patient-centered mesothelioma program includes a dedicated team of medical oncologists, thoracic surgeons, general surgeons, nurses, pathologists, imaging specialists, and scientists who understand the unique characteristics of this disease. A distinctive feature of the program is a dedicated nurse navigator who focuses on coordinating care for mesothelioma patients. UC Cancer Center’s multidisciplinary focus is a direct reflection of their clinical interest in mesothelioma and their expertise in developing novel treatment protocols that extend and improve lives.

UPMC Hillman Cancer Center


University of Pennsylvania Medical Center Hillman Cancer Center is committed to giving you the knowledge, inspiration, and specialty care you need to boldly face your diagnosis. UPMC is the region’s only comprehensive cancer center designated by the National Cancer Institute. And with more than 60 UPMC Hillman Cancer Center locations, you won’t have to travel far to receive world-class treatments backed by best practices and leading-edge protocols.

The Mesothelioma Specialty Care Center at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center provides a comprehensive treatment approach to this challenging disease. The center brings together experts in thoracic surgical oncology, pulmonology, pathology, radiology, pain management, and medical and radiation oncology.


Top Mesothelioma Doctors

This is an image of Dr. Raphael Bueno, who specializes in treating pleural mesothelioma.

Raphael Bueno

Dr. Raphael Bueno specializes in treating pleural mesothelioma. He is Chief of the Division of Thoracic Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Co-Director of the BWH Lung Center. He serves as the Senior Surgeon at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center and Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital.

As Chief of Thoracic Surgery and Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Bueno is a National Cancer Institute-funded investigator who combines translational research with a general thoracic surgery practice.




This is an image of Dr. Robert B. Cameron, who has been treating mesothelioma patients for over 20 years and is one of the leading experts on the treatment of pleural mesothelioma.

Robert B. Cameron

Dr. Robert B. Cameron has been treating mesothelioma patients for over 20 years and is one of the leading experts on the treatment of pleural mesothelioma. He is the innovator of the pleurectomy with decortication surgical procedure and has performed the procedure on hundreds of patients.

Dr. Robert Cameron is a thoracic and cardiac surgeon in Los Angeles, California, and is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area, including Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System.




This is a picture of Dr. Raja M. Flores, Chief of Thoracic Surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center.

Raja M. Flores 

Dr. Raja M. Flores is Chief of Thoracic Surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center. He was a lead investigator in a trial of neoadjuvant ALIMTA®/cisplatin, extrapleural pneumonectomy, and high-dose radiation, which was designed to improve outcomes for pleural mesothelioma patients.

Dr. Flores and Mount Sinai contribute to the National Mesothelioma Virtual Bank, providing biospecimens to investigate mesothelioma and its potential therapies. He is Principle Investigator of the Libby Epidemiology Research Program, a $4.8 billion RO1 grant funded to explore the consequences of asbestos exposure.




This picture shows Dr. Abraham Lebenthal because he specializes in treating pleural mesothelioma.

Abraham Lebenthal

Dr. Abraham Lebenthal specializes in treating pleural mesothelioma. He is a thoracic surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Director of Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery at VA Boston Healthcare System-West Roxbury Campus. He is also an instructor of surgery at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Lebenthal’s research focuses on mesothelioma and benign and malignant diseases of the esophagus. His clinical interests include mesothelioma and esophageal disease, as well as teaching residents and fellows advanced surgical techniques.




This picture shows Dr. Paul H. Sugarbaker, who is Chief of the Peritoneal Surface Malignancy Program and Director of the Center for Gastrointestinal Malignancies at the Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC.

Paul H. Sugarbaker

Dr. Paul H. Sugarbaker is Chief of the Peritoneal Surface Malignancy Program and Director of the Center for Gastrointestinal Malignancies at the Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC.

Dr. Sugarbaker developed the combined treatments of surgery with warm chemotherapy for peritoneal mesothelioma. His mantra, “It’s what the surgeon doesn’t see that kills the patient,” summarizes his thinking, as he realizes the limitations of surgery alone and the limitations of systemic or regional chemotherapy alone. This treatment option has been shown to improve survival outcomes in patients with peritoneal mesothelioma.

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