Mesothelioma Cancer Centers

Quick Summary

Specialized mesothelioma cancer centers have the best doctors and treatment options available for patients with this rare disease. Veterans with mesothelioma can seek treatments from civilian hospitals or cancer centers operated by the VA. Some of the top facilities treating mesothelioma in the United States include Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center.

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Why Seek Treatment at a Mesothelioma Cancer Center?

Choosing the right medical center after a mesothelioma diagnosis is an important decision. Because the cancer is so rare and aggressive, your best chance of reaching long-term survival is by getting care at a facility that treats it regularly. Doctors at general cancer centers may not have the experience or resources needed to properly treat you.

Fortunately, there are several major hospitals located throughout the United States that treat mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.

These facilities are home to:

  • Mesothelioma surgeons
  • Pathologists
  • Radiation oncologists
  • Social workers

All of these professionals — and more — work together to develop the most effective treatment plan in your case, factoring in what type and stage of mesothelioma you have.

Your decision of which mesothelioma cancer center to attend depends on where you are located in the United States and if you are a U.S. veteran. Veterans with mesothelioma can often access care from medical centers within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which are not open to civilians.

VA Cancer Centers for Veterans With Mesothelioma

As of 2020, there are three mesothelioma cancer treatment centers within the VA Health Care System. These centers only care for mesothelioma patients who developed mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos in the U.S. Armed Forces.

West Los Angeles VA Medical Center

The West Los Angeles VA Medical Center has treated veterans with pleural mesothelioma since 1998. It is the largest hospital in the VA that treats mesothelioma patients and is part of the Greater Los Angeles Health Care System.

Dr. Robert Cameron, one of the world’s top mesothelioma doctors, leads the mesothelioma program at this facility. Dr. Cameron developed a groundbreaking surgery for mesothelioma called the pleurectomy with decortication (P/D).

Unlike other mesothelioma surgeries, a P/D does not remove the lung closest to the cancer tumors, helping to preserve quality of life.

Other treatment options at the West Los Angeles VA include:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • New treatments through clinical trials

This cancer center treats numerous patients with mesothelioma each year and offers housing and transportation programs for veterans that don’t live near the Los Angeles area.

The VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System is accredited by the Joint Commission, which certifies thousands of health care programs and organizations in the United States.

Being accredited means that the facility has met the highest quality standards in health care and is a symbol of excellence in medical treatment.

Visit the UCLA Health website to learn more about Dr. Robert Cameron.

Disclaimer

The Mesothelioma Veterans Center has no affiliation with and is not endorsed or sponsored by Dr. Robert B. Cameron. The contact information above is listed for informational purposes only. You have the right to contact Dr. Cameron directly.

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Boston VA Hospital

The Boston VA Hospital is partnered with the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, one of the leading civilian mesothelioma treatment centers.

Thoracic surgeon Dr. Abraham “Avi” Lebenthal leads the mesothelioma treatment program at the Boston VA Hospital. Dr. Lebenthal deeply understands the health concerns veterans face since he is a veteran himself, serving for nearly 20 years in Israel’s army.

The Boston VA Hospital treats hundreds of pleural mesothelioma patients each year using surgeries such as the P/D and the extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP).

It also offers clinical trials that have the potential to prolong the lives of U.S. veterans suffering from mesothelioma.

Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center

Located in Houston, Texas, the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center began treating mesothelioma patients in 2019. Mesothelioma specialist Dr. Taylor Ripley of Houston’s Baylor College of Medicine partnered with VA doctors to found this program.

“Fortunately, the work we’re doing with the VA as we ramp up and start to see more and more patients with mesothelioma in Houston has the Baylor program right across the street to support that as it grows.”

– Dr. Taylor Ripley, Mesothelioma Specialist

The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center is currently the only VA hospital that offers treatment for peritoneal mesothelioma, under the direction of Dr. Eugene A. Choi. Treatment for pleural mesothelioma is also available.

Other Top Mesothelioma Cancer Centers

Outside of the VA, veterans and non-veterans alike can find care from civilian mesothelioma centers across the country. Learn more about these hospitals below.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Brigham and Women’s Hospital is one of the oldest treatment facilities in the U.S., having first opened its doors in 1832 in Boston. This hospital’s specialists are world-renowned for their management of mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, and other similar diseases.

Did you know

This facility is home to the International Mesothelioma Program (IMP), which offers the latest in treatment options for pleural mesothelioma. The IMP was founded by the late Dr. David Sugarbaker, who was internationally known for his work in treating pleural mesothelioma.

In the present, the IMP has helped hundreds of patients with mesothelioma find the best treatments under the direction of Dr. Raphael Bueno.

Through the IMP, mesothelioma patients can access established treatments and new ones through clinical trials.

Recent clinical trials at this cancer center included:

  • A new method for determining the stage and prognosis of pleural mesothelioma patients
  • A pre-surgery drug (defactinib) study for patients with pleural mesothelioma
  • A study aimed to provide a better understanding of how mesothelioma patients’ blood clots for future surgeries
  • Studies on immunotherapy medications

Brigham and Women’s Hospital is closely partnered with the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, and the VA, which ensures that cancer patients get the best care possible.

Mayo Clinic

Located in Rochester, Minnesota, the Mayo Clinic is one of the most well-known facilities for the treatment of a variety of diseases, including mesothelioma.

The Mayo Clinic has on-staff mesothelioma doctors that can treat this cancer through standard options like surgery. However, it is also a cancer research facility that offers patients with mesothelioma a chance to participate in clinical trials that could improve their condition.

Clinical trials at the Mayo Clinic are currently studying:

  • Intrapleural cryotherapy for pleural mesothelioma
  • Surgery for resectable pleural mesothelioma after radiation therapy
  • Response rate and survival of patients who received chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation

Contact the Mayo Clinic to learn more about accessing mesothelioma treatments and clinical trials.

UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center

The UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center was founded in the late 1960s. It is among one of the biggest cancer centers in the United States. The center’s staff of 500 doctors and researchers works alongside over 20,000 patients each year.

The Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center focuses on:

  • Clinical trials and research
  • Experimental cancer treatments
  • Standard cancer treatment methods

The center is one of just a few dozen cancer centers recognized by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) as providing comprehensive care to patients. It was first recognized in 1976 and has maintained this status ever since.

The Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center upholds the highest standards as it helps patients and researches new treatment methods.

Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center

The Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center was founded in 1955 and is highly regarded across the nation. It was ranked the 7th best hospital in the nation by U.S. News & Report in 2019 and was also ranked as the best hospital in Los Angeles.

This center has been treating mesothelioma patients since 1997 and employs some of the best mesothelioma doctors. Among them is Dr. Robert B. Cameron, who serves as the director of comprehensive mesothelioma care.

Its mesothelioma treatment program also uses consistent therapies to slow the cancer. The combination of surgery and follow-up treatment helps patients live longer without suffering from serious side effects.

MedStar Washington Hospital Center

The MedStar Washington Hospital Center is located in Washington D.C. This facility employs some of the top cancer experts currently practicing and has two branches that seek to treat cancer as safely and effectively as possible.

These treatment branches include:

  • The Washington Cancer Institute
  • The Center for Gastrointestinal Malignancies

The link between both branches is Dr. Paul Sugarbaker, who specializes in treating peritoneal mesothelioma. Dr. Sugarbaker previously served as the medical director for the Washington Cancer Institute and currently spearheads the Center for Gastrointestinal Malignancies.

Did you know

Today, these facilities treat peritoneal mesothelioma using cytoreductive surgery and hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC).

Developed by Dr. Sugarbaker, this treatment removes all visible cancer tumors and then bathes the surgery site in cancer-killing drugs. 60% of patients survive at least 5 years after this procedure.

The facilities also have clinical trials available, giving patients other options outside of the standard mesothelioma treatment plan.

University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center

The University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center has been treating mesothelioma for over 25 years. Leading this cancer center’s mesothelioma program is Dr. Hedy Lee Kindler, who can treat both pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma.

As of 2020, a team of 16 radiologists, surgeons, and palliative care providers works to ensure mesothelioma patients get the best care possible.

Notable treatment options available to mesothelioma patients at this facility include cytoreductive surgery with HIPEC and cutting-edge clinical trials.

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, based in Houston, primarily treats pleural mesothelioma patients. Noted mesothelioma specialist Dr. Anne Tsao currently serves as the director of MD Anderson’s mesothelioma program.

Under Dr. Tsao’s leadership, over 30 medical experts work together to develop custom patient care plans. This includes using both well-accepted mesothelioma treatments like surgery and radiation, along with clinical trials.

“We constantly test new boundaries with research. Because of this, we 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.”

– MD Anderson Cancer Center

H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center

The H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center is located in Tampa, Florida, and is unique in that it treats all types of mesothelioma. This is helpful for patients diagnosed with extremely rare forms of the disease (such as pericardial mesothelioma), as treatment options may be limited.

Moffitt Cancer Center also works to make mesothelioma treatment easier for patients. Since multiple types of doctors — including radiologists, pathologists, and surgeons — work at this hospital, patients can get all their treatments without traveling to multiple locations.

Moffitt Cancer Center is the only hospital in Florida that provides comprehensive cancer care, according to the NCI.

Baylor College of Medicine

As of 2020, Baylor College of Medicine treats pleural mesothelioma under the direction of Dr. Taylor Ripley. This cancer center serves patients in Houston, Texas.

“My personal career purpose and the Mesothelioma Treatment Center team’s daily focus are on finding a cure for this disease. We will continue our battle with this disease and commit to doing our very best for each patient and family we treat.”

– Dr. Taylor Ripley, Mesothelioma Specialist

Dr. Ripley and his colleagues ensure that each patient receives specialized treatments that fit with their needs and diagnosis.

Common Questions About Mesothelioma Treatment Centers

It’s natural to have questions as you search for a mesothelioma treatment center that’s right for your needs. Find answers to important questions below.

Top Question

How can I afford the costs of traveling to a mesothelioma treatment center?

If you need to travel to get to a cancer center, there are ways you can cover the costs of a plane ticket, car ride, or other transportation options.

First, it’s important to note that veterans may not have to pay any travel costs if they seek treatment through the VA.

For non-veterans, some cancer centers — including the Mayo Clinic and Brigham and Women’s Hospital — offer temporary housing to mesothelioma patients and their loved ones for free or at discounted rates.

Patients who need to pay for their travel costs out of pocket can also apply for grants through organizations the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (Meso Foundation).

How much will it cost to seek treatment at a mesothelioma center?

This depends on the specifics in each case, such as the type of insurance plan you have. For example, you may pay very little if you are a U.S. veteran with VA Health Care.

“As national leaders in treatment of [malignant pleural mesothelioma], the VA is honored to provide accessible therapy with minimal co-pays to all Veterans with VA healthcare benefits.”

– U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

You can get help with affording care from a mesothelioma cancer center by applying for VA benefits or filing a legal claim.

How can I locate top mesothelioma doctors?

The best mesothelioma doctor for your case will depend on what type of mesothelioma you have, along with other factors such as cancer stage.

To find a doctor close to you, it’s helpful to determine which cancer centers are nearby that specialize in treating your mesothelioma type.

If you still have questions, call (877) 450-8973. Our team can provide answers to questions about cancer centers and how to find the best mesothelioma doctors.

Choosing the Right Mesothelioma Cancer Center

Mesothelioma research and treatment centers are located throughout the country. As you seek out mesothelioma treatments, it’s important to find a cancer center that is close to you and has doctors available that will meet your health care needs.

The VA knows the sacrifices you made to protect your country. That’s why all three VA mesothelioma treatment centers have partnerships with some of the world’s best cancer doctors. However, non-VA mesothelioma centers can also be very helpful.

To learn more about the best mesothelioma hospitals and find which one is right for you, get a free veterans packet today. This in-depth guide also includes information about key mesothelioma treatments and doctors.

Veterans Support Team
Todd Gersten, MD PhotoReviewed by:Todd Gersten, MD

Double Board-Certified Oncologist and Hematologist

  • Fact-Checked
  • Editor

Todd Gersten, MD is a double board-certified medical oncologist and hematologist specializing in general adult oncology and hematologic disease. He is a physician partner with the Florida Cancer Specialists and practices in Wellington, Florida.

Dr. Todd Gersten is an independently paid medical reviewer.

Christopher Dryfoos PhotoWritten by:

Contributing Author

Christopher Dryfoos is a journalist and member of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA). As the grandson of the U.S. Navy’s first forensic pathologist, he aims to help veterans with mesothelioma access needed care.

View 9 Sources
  1. Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation. (2020, September 18). Meet the Meso Experts: Mesothelioma Program at Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston, Texas. Retrieved October 19, 2020, from https://www.curemeso.org/get-involved/attend-conferences-and-events/meet-the-mesothelioma-experts-podcast-broadcast-series/mesothelioma-program-at-veterans-affairs-medical-center-in-houston-texas/
  2. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2014, July 15). VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. Retrieved October 19, 2020, from https://www.losangeles.va.gov/services/Mesothelioma.asp
  3. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2014, December 08). Asbestos and Mesothelioma. Retrieved October 19, 2020, from https://www.boston.va.gov/services/surgical/Asbestos_and_Mesothelioma.asp
  4. Brigham and Women's Hospital. (n.d.). What is mesothelioma? Retrieved October 19, 2020, from https://www.brighamandwomens.org/surgery/thoracic-surgery/mesothelioma
  5. Mayo Clinic. (n.d.). Intrapleural Cryotherapy for Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma. Retrieved October 19, 2020, from https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02464904
  6. University of Chicago. (n.d.). Our Mesothelioma Physician Team. Retrieved October 19, 2020, from https://www.uchicagomedicine.org/cancer/types-treatments/mesothelioma/physicians
  7. MD Anderson Cancer Center. (n.d.). Mesothelioma. Retrieved October 19, 2020, from https://www.mdanderson.org/cancer-types/mesothelioma.html
  8. Moffitt Cancer Center. (n.d.). Our Approach to Treating Mesothelioma. Retrieved October 19, 2020, from https://moffitt.org/cancers/mesothelioma/
  9. International Mesothelioma Program. (n.d.). Housing & Living Arrangements. Retrieved October 19, 2020, from https://impmeso.org/what-to-expect/housing-living/
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