Understanding What Mesothelioma Doctors Do
You’ll be seeing a lot of mesothelioma doctors if you’ve been diagnosed with an asbestos related disease. It can become overwhelming when you are referred to different types of specialists or sent to various mesothelioma cancer clinics. Understanding just what each of the different types of doctors do and how they will handle your mesothelioma treatment options will take away some of the apprehension.
Almost all mesothelioma doctors concentrate on a specialty of some type and some of these doctors have specialties that overlap. Since mesothelioma affects different parts of the body and is a form of cancer, there are several different types of specialists who are trained to treat this disease.
Oncologists are physicians who specialize in treating not only mesothelioma but cancers of all types. Their focus is specifically on therapies such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancer. The oncologist is the doctor who will focus on treating any mesothelioma cancer tumors you might have. To differentiate between the two specialists, the doctor who focuses on radiation therapy is more specifically called “radiation oncologist,” while oncologist more often refers to someone who specializes in chemotherapy.
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A pulmonary specialist, or pulmonologist, focuses on the treatment of various diseases relating to the lungs. They can treat any number of disorders such as asthma, COPD and other breathing related illnesses. Mesothelioma doctors who are pulmonologists can also treat other asbestos related diseases such as asbestosis which may not involve an actual tumor or cancer.
If you are considering a drastic treatment such as surgery for mesothelioma, thoracic surgeons (see Asbestosis and the American Thoracic Society) are needed. These doctors are highly specialized in doing invasive surgery on the lungs, heart and chest. These surgeons are one of the many mesothelioma cancer doctors who are trained to treat different types of mesothelioma, whether heart, abdomen or lung.
None of your mesothelioma doctors can treat you effectively without the support of a medical pathologist who will do tests on you regularly to monitor progress. The pathologist will do blood and urine tests and interpret some biopsies in order to determine the condition and extent of your illness. You will most likely never meet the pathologist who is working on your case, but this doctor is integral to treating your mesothelioma and helps guide the other doctors in making the right treatment choices for you.
Cancer Treatment Clinics
Mesothelioma specialists often work in teams in specialized cancer treatment clinics so that you won’t have to travel to a variety of different locations to see a particular doctor and to receive treatment of your mesothelioma cancer. The treatment team formula also ensures that every doctor and specialist is “on the same page” and is clear as to what treatment path is being followed; this way, all of the different procedures compliment each other for the most efficient treatment.
Talk to your diagnosing doctor to see if there is an asbestos lung cancer treatment center near you that offers specialized team care. If there is, consider obtaining treatment there if possible – they have some of the best and brightest mesothelioma doctors in the country.
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