Mesothelioma Treatment Centers
Mesothelioma treatment centers offer the latest advances in treatment approaches, access to clinical trials, and collaboration with some of the most innovative mesothelioma physicians in the industry. These treatment centers are located throughout the United States.
Medically Reviewed By:
Patricia Shelton, M.D.
Medically Reviewed By:Patricia Shelton, M.D.
While the average life expectancy after a mesothelioma diagnosis is 15 to 22 months, treatment centers that specialize in mesothelioma have some success increasing lifespan. For example, cytoreductive surgery with hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) has been found to increase the lifespan of peritoneal mesothelioma patients from 4 months to between 34 and 92 months.
Considerations When Selecting a Mesothelioma Cancer Treatment Center
When seeking treatment for mesothelioma, it is important to select a treatment center that specializes in mesothelioma. General cancer centers typically lack access to the most up-to-date treatments available for mesothelioma unless they specifically have a mesothelioma program.
While some approaches to mesothelioma treatment are common, some treatment centers offer novel approaches that differ from other facilities. It is important to understand the different treatment approaches and which modalities you feel most comfortable receiving.
Most mesothelioma treatment centers offer a multidisciplinary approach, which treats the whole patient rather than only treating the disease. This approach often includes:
- Palliative care (comfort measures)
- Nutritional counseling
- Psychological counseling
- Social work
- Support for the family
- Chaplain services
Access to Clinical Trials
There is no known cure for mesothelioma, but clinical trials provide hope that one day, a cure will be discovered. Most mesothelioma treatment centers offer patients an opportunity to participate in these trials. In some cases, the treatment center may be the lead investigator of one or more clinical trials. These trials can be useful when other treatment options have been exhausted.
It is not uncommon for mesothelioma patients to travel long distances to access treatment. Unlike other cancers with treatment centers available near almost every locality in the U.S., mesothelioma clinics are limited due to the rarity of this form of cancer.
If you do determine that long-distance travel is worthwhile to access your preferred treatment modality, it is also important to consider the following:
- Will treatment require you to stay in the geographical area for a period, or will you have to make several trips that are spaced apart?
- Are free or reduced-cost travel and lodging arrangements available?
- Do you have the physical strength and resources necessary to make long trips on a recurrent basis?
- Does an alternative local treatment center offer similar approaches?
You will also need to know whether the treatment center is accepting new patients or if there is a waiting list. Due to the aggressive nature of mesothelioma, the existence of a waiting list may preclude treatment at that particular center.
Top Mesothelioma Treatment Centers
Fortunately, several mesothelioma cancer treatment centers throughout the country offer a myriad of treatment options.
Cancer Treatment Centers of America
Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) offer a mesothelioma program with the following benefits:
- Urgency: appointments are available to new patients within 24 hours
- A multidisciplinary team
- A whole-person approach
- Access to clinical trials
- Concierge services
- Travel and lodging arrangements
- Fitness facilities
- Healthy meal options
- Support groups
- On-site pharmacy
- Free Wi-Fi
If you do not have government health insurance, CTCA pays some travel costs and hosts patients in deeply discounted hotel rooms. They also greet patients at the airport and shuttle them to their hotels.
Cancer Treatment Centers of America can be found at the following locations:
- Outpatient care centers
- Chicago, Illinois
- Gilbert, Arizona
- Gurnee, Illinois
- Phoenix, Arizona
- Scottsdale, Arizona
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
The Division of Thoracic Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital has pioneered mesothelioma care and research over the last 20 years. As a founding member of the International Mesothelioma Program, Brigham and Women’s Hospital features board-certified thoracic surgeons with subspecialty training and experience in mesothelioma treatment.
Their physicians have expertise in the most advanced diagnostic and surgical procedures available. All the surgeons in the mesothelioma program are Harvard faculty members, and many are physician-researchers at the forefront of mesothelioma research.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital is located in the Boston area at the following locations in Massachusetts:
- Main Campus, Boston
- Milford Regional Medical Center, Milford
- Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center, Weymouth
MD Anderson Cancer Center
The MD Anderson Cancer Center‘s mesothelioma program specializes in pleural mesothelioma, offers individualized treatment plans, and focuses on preserving lung function and quality of life. MD Anderson is a pioneer in mesothelioma treatment, and some of the treatments offered are only available through MD Anderson.
MD Anderson is on the cutting edge of mesothelioma research and participates in numerous clinical trials that involve surgery, radiation, immunotherapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of modalities.
MD Anderson’s thoracic center is located on the main campus in Houston, Texas.
Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center
The Penn Mesothelioma and Pleural Program at Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center offers mesothelioma patients every treatment option available worldwide. Treatment is available through the Harron Lung Center.
The physicians in the Mesothelioma and Pleural Program at Penn Medicine are nationally recognized experts and among the foremost mesothelioma physicians in the world. They strive to provide comprehensive, compassionate care at the highest possible level.
This program uses a multidisciplinary approach and provides every patient with a personalized treatment plan. Every week, the team meets to discuss each patient’s case in detail.
Patients also have access to clinical trials that are exclusive to Penn Medicine. Penn Medicine is an industry leader in mesothelioma research, and this allows patients to receive treatment that is not available anywhere else. Penn’s premier research program is currently conducting several Phase I and Phase II trials they are calling “exciting.”
Trials include the following treatment modalities:
- Combination chemo/surgery/radiation
- Autologous tumor vaccine for lung cancer and meso
- Photodynamic therapy for untreatable tumors
- Cell manipulation to enhance immune response
- Prevention studies
Patient services offered by the Penn Mesothelioma and Pleural program include:
- Radiation therapy
- Photodynamic therapy
- Clinical trials
- Cancer support services
- Resources for new patients
- Second opinions
Penn Medicine’s mesothelioma treatment centers, including the Harron Lung Center, are situated throughout Philadelphia.
Duke Health offers a mesothelioma treatment program that focuses on enhancing each patient’s quality of life and increasing life expectancy. This is accomplished through a multidisciplinary care team that offers the following:
- Fast-tracked testing and treatment
- Surgery, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy
- A concierge office
- Assistance arranging lodging
- Palliative care for patients and loved ones
The mesothelioma program at Duke Health can be accessed through the Duke Cancer Center located in Durham, North Carolina.
UT Southwestern Medical Center
UT Southwestern Medical Center is a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer care center with a treatment and research program dedicated to mesothelioma. This program is on the cutting edge of mesothelioma research and offers patients the ability to participate in clinical trials and therapies not available at other facilities.
The mesothelioma program at UT Southwestern Medical Center utilizes an evidence-based multidisciplinary approach and provides the following benefits to patients:
- Excellent surgical outcomes
- Minimally invasive interventional surgery
- Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)
Support services for individual needs include the following:
- Cancer psychology
- Oncology nutrition
- Social work
- Transitional care coordination
- Spiritual support
- Integrative therapy
- Music therapy
- One-on-one support
- Support groups and classes
The mesothelioma program is located at the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center in Dallas, Texas.
The Baylor Medicine Lung Institute
The Baylor Medicine Lung Institute is recognized worldwide as a leading center for mesothelioma diagnosis, treatment, and research, with increasingly sophisticated diagnostic methods and cutting-edge clinical, biomedical, and basic research programs that ensure patients have access to the most advanced treatment options.
Mesothelioma patients at Baylor can expect the following benefits:
- A whole-patient, multidisciplinary team approach
- Comprehensive personalized treatment that targets the disease
- Support for the whole family
- Multimodal treatment to include surgery, chemo, radiation, immunotherapy
- Refined surgical techniques
- New treatment modalities to improve outcomes
- Genetic testing to help direct treatment protocols
The mesothelioma program is located at the Baylor College Medicine at McNair campus in Houston, Texas.
City of Hope
The City of Hope is home to world-renowned mesothelioma experts and researchers who are on the cutting edge of mesothelioma research while offering a compassionate, whole-patient approach that extends to the entire family and continues even after recovery.
The City of Hope accepts late-stage cases diagnosed as untreatable by other institutions and applies the most advanced technology available, including such advanced techniques as:
- Minimally invasive robotic surgery
- Laparoscopic surgery
- Leading-edge advanced radiation techniques
- Helical TomoTherapy
- Four-dimensional computed tomography
- Intensity-modulated radiation therapy
- Image-guided radiation therapy
- Stereotactic body radiation
The City of Hope has locations throughout Southern California.
Mercy Medical Center
The surgical oncology department at Mercy Medical Center specializes in the treatment of peritoneal mesothelioma. Renowned surgeons provide state-of-the-art treatment options, including cytoreductive surgery with hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemo (HIPEC). The doctors participate in basic mesothelioma research. Mercy Medical Center is located in Baltimore, Maryland.
Pacific Heart, Lung & Blood Institute
The Pacific Heart, Lung & Blood Institute is the only nonprofit corporation in the United States that conducts in-house research on mesothelioma. One of the leading mesothelioma researchers in the world, it is home to the Pacific Mesothelioma Center, led by physician-scientist Robert Cameron.
The program’s mission is to generate hope through research, support, and education, with a focus on specific areas of research aimed at improving the lives and longevity of mesothelioma patients. Dr. Cameron’s approach is to treat mesothelioma as a chronic condition while searching for a cure.
The Pacific Heart, Lung & Blood Institute and the Pacific Mesothelioma Center are located in Los Angeles, California.
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC)
MSKCC specializes in the treatment of pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma and is home to an internationally recognized team of researchers and physicians who are often the first to be aware of the latest scientific breakthroughs and clinical studies in mesothelioma treatment.
Patients at MSKCC enjoy access to clinical trials not available elsewhere and enjoy personalized care in a multidisciplinary team environment. MSKCC experiences one of the largest volumes of mesothelioma patients in the country, which provides unique expertise.
The staff collaborates and strategizes every other week about each case. The focus is on prolonging life and improving the quality of life.
The David H. Koch Center for Cancer Care at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is located in New York City.
New York-Presbyterian has been designated as a Center of Excellence in the management of mesothelioma by the National Cancer Institute. It offers advanced care for pleural mesothelioma and accepts patients from across the country.
New York-Presbyterian has its own research department where it directs clinical trials and evaluates novel treatments. Patients at New York-Presbyterian’s mesothelioma program enjoy the following benefits:
- Coordinated care from experts in multiple fields for a custom approach
- Supportive measures to enhance comfort
- New researched-based treatment, including the latest anticancer drugs and targeted therapies
- Minimally invasive thoracic surgery
- The latest chemotherapy and immunotherapy
- Precise radiation
- Access to clinical trials, some of which may not be available elsewhere
New York-Presbyterian is located in New York City.
Moffitt Cancer Center
The Moffitt Cancer Center is a prestigious National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center that is recognized for its ability to translate research into patient benefits.
The Moffitt Center treats all types of mesothelioma through its Thoracic Oncology Program, which includes scientists, researchers, and clinicians. Moffitt is continually exploring cutting-edge treatments, such as the following:
- Gene therapies
- Photodynamic therapies
The Moffitt Cancer Center is located throughout the Tampa Bay region of Florida.
While many VA Medical Centers do not offer mesothelioma treatment centers, veterans have access to some of the foremost mesothelioma doctors in the country through the following VA Medical Centers:
- The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, which partners with the mesothelioma program at Baylor (Doctors from Baylor)
- The West Los Angeles VA Medical Center, which is headed by renowned mesothelioma specialist Dr. Robert Cameron of the Pacific Heart, Lung & Blood Institute
- The Boston VA Healthcare System, which partners with the mesothelioma program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Traveling to Treatment
Traveling out of town or out of state can be cost prohibitive. Numerous organizations provide benefits to cancer patients in need of treatment, including travel and lodging assistance when it becomes necessary to travel long distances to access treatment.
The Department of Veterans Affairs provides reimbursement for travel expenses related to approved medical treatment, including the following:
- Mileage to and from your appointments
- Parking costs
- Taxi and plane fares
- Ticket costs for public transportation
- Ambulance or wheelchair van transportation
Can specialized mesothelioma treatment centers increase my life expectancy?
Even with the best treatment, the mesothelioma survival rate is low. Novel treatments and clinical trials could prove to be quite successful in some cases. In addition to seeking increased life expectancy, mesothelioma treatment centers also focus on improving quality of life and providing support to loved ones.
Should I seek treatment if my mesothelioma has reached the later stages?
The decision to seek treatment or not seek treatment is highly personal. Many patients believe their survival odds are low and they would enjoy a greater, albeit shorter, quality of life without treatment.
Benefits of treatment:
- Prolonged life expectancy in some cases
- Higher quality of life in some cases
- Opportunity to participate in clinical studies that could also help others
Drawbacks of treatment:
- Treatment can be stressful and expensive, especially if travel is necessary
- Treatment can take the patient away from family
- Side effects can impair quality of life or even shorten life in some cases
What should I do if I decide against seeking treatment?
The decision to discontinue treatment does not automatically deprive you of medical care that can keep you comfortable and improve your quality of life.
Hospice is an end-of-life program that provides comfort measures and support to the patient as well as the family without attempting to cure or treat the condition. Hospice care can be offered in the home, nursing home, hospital, or other facilities. Hospice patients living at home receive the bulk of their care from family members, but hospice provides coaching and support.
Patients and families who receive hospice care report greater satisfaction with end-of-life care than other patients. They also achieve better pain control and experience lower stress levels. Patients and families in hospice care have the opportunity to explore end-of-life questions together and make their last months, days, and moments as meaningful as possible.
Is there any hope?
A mesothelioma diagnosis is a traumatic event that points to a shortened life expectancy. It is also the catalyst for uncomfortable medical treatment, such as chemotherapy. There are no guarantees that a mesothelioma patient will survive, even with the best treatment, but treatment centers with dedicated researchers and physicians offer the most likely opportunity for a prolonged lifespan and the highest possible quality of life.