There are several types of mesothelioma doctors who diagnose and treat malignant pleural mesothelioma, primary malignant pericardial mesothelioma, and malignant peritoneal mesothelioma. These doctors generally consist of radiation oncologists, pulmonologists, cardiologists, gastroenterologists, surgical oncologists, pathologists, medical oncologists, interventional radiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, interventional pulmonologists, and interventional cardiologists. These doctors work together as a multidisciplinary team to diagnose and treat mesothelioma and provide the best care to individuals with the disease.1
Where to Begin
Often, the symptoms of mesothelioma are vague, mimicking those of less serious illnesses. The longer one waits to diagnose and treat the disease, the greater chance the disease has to spread throughout the body. If you believe that you were exposed to asbestos in the past, you should speak with your primary care physician about screening for mesothelioma.
Your primary care doctor may order a chest x-ray or chest CT, an echocardiogram, or an abdominal x-ray or abdominal CT to help screen for the disease. Or, they may refer you to a specialist with expertise in diagnosing your suspected type of mesothelioma, such as a radiation oncologist, or a pulmonologist, cardiologist, or gastroenterologist who can perform the appropriate diagnostic procedure.
These diagnostic procedures obtain fluid and sometimes tissue from the diseased cavity that is analyzed for mesothelioma cells. However, a tissue biopsy obtained via surgery is usually required to make a definitive diagnosis, as well as to gain a clear picture of how far along the disease is and the next steps in treatment.2
Finding the Right Specialists
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be wondering how to find the right treatment specialists. When choosing your team of specialists, you should first make sure that they have the experience and qualifications to treat you because mesothelioma is a rare disease that can be misdiagnosed and mismanaged. You also want to choose the right specialists that will help you design the best treatment plan to optimize your quality of life and life expectancy.
For these reasons, you may be better off seeking care at a specialty treatment center with expertise in diagnosing and treating mesothelioma. A specialty treatment center may also be involved in clinical trials, which can connect you with some of the most cutting-edge treatments for the disease.3