Much of the knowledge about mesothelioma has emerged within the last several decades. Although the correlation between asbestos and mesothelioma was made by the 1920s, the majority of the medical knowledge that surrounds this rare cancer has come about more recently. As the rate of diagnosis has grown to between 2,000 and 3,000 new cases each year, a number of advocates, researchers and specialists have dedicated their time to expanding the body of knowledge about mesothelioma.
How to Choose a Mesothelioma Doctor
It is strongly recommended that patients meet with any potential health care provider before making a final decision on where to receive their mesothelioma care. In addition to adequate qualifications, training and experience, a doctor with excellent communication skills and patient relations is the best choice for treatment. A patient must feel comfortable discussing their questions or concerns and asking for information or explanations.
When Will a Patient See a Mesothelioma Specialist?
Patients will often visit other medical professionals before seeing a mesothelioma doctor. Most mesothelioma diagnoses are actually made by a general doctor. If the physician suspects the presence of the cancer, he or she will order other imaging tests or biopsies to confirm their suspicions. If the patient does have mesothelioma, they will be referred to an oncologist.
Several oncologists have specialized in mesothelioma and patients have been known to travel around the country for their care. Most of these mesothelioma specialists are employed at prestigious hospitals where they can utilize their advanced degrees and extensive knowledge to provide the most effective and comprehensive treatment possible.
Finding Local Mesothelioma Treatment
Although some patients choose to travel for treatment, others are unable to do so because of the advanced nature of their disease. Patients without a local mesothelioma specialist may explore other options, including treatment from a pulmonologist – a doctor that specializes in lung illnesses – or a thoracic surgeon whose training deals with operable conditions in the chest and lungs.
Mesothelioma Treatment for Small Town Residents
Many residents in small towns do not have access to a local mesothelioma specialist or a doctor with other applicable qualifications. This certainly should not discourage them from seeking treatment since surrounding cities often have larger facilities where a patient can seek an oncologist's care. Hospitals and social workers are usually able to help connect mesothelioma patients with the closest available treatment. Insurance policies may help cover the expenses associated with pursuing medical care, yet a policy holder should contact an administrator at either their insurance company or chosen hospital to confirm coverage.