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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Mesothelioma Treatment Facilities: How We Match Patients with Doctors

One of my greatest goals is to enable all people diagnosed with cancer to find the best team and treatment for their cancer.  There are many fantastic doctors out there; not every one of them is right for every patient.  Furthermore, not every therapy is right for every patient; we are all individuals with individual bodies, cancers, circumstances and needs.  The following is a guest post by the Mesothelioma Center, who seems to share a common goal. 

At The Mesothelioma Center, one of the most important things we do is match our patients with a mesothelioma specialist. But we don’t just randomly pair people with any health care professional. Our patient advocates consider multiple personal and diagnosis-related factors to make sure patients are getting the best care for their individual case.

Facility Factors – First and foremost, our Medical Outreach Director visits each facility to learn about how they operate. We ask questions like:  

·         What technology do they have?

·         Do they have a designated asbestos-related disease department?

·         What about an integrated care team with nutritionists, counselors and rehabilitation specialists?

·         What does the facility do to set itself apart from other centers?

Once we know the ins and outs of how each facility works with its patients, we can make personalized recommendations that we feel comfortable standing behind.

Doctor Specialties – Even if the facility is nationally recognized for mesothelioma care, they may not have a doctor who specializes in each subtype of the disease. For instance, some centers have pleural mesothelioma specialists, but not peritoneal mesothelioma specialists.

We know how important it is for people to work with a confident, experienced doctor. That’s why our advocates make sure to match patients with surgeons and oncologists who know who to best treat their specific diagnosis. 

Patient’s Diagnosis – On a similar note, we consider a wide range of variables related to the patient’s diagnosis. We try to match patients based on the stage and location of their cancer, the tumor cell subtype, and their overall health. Some treatment centers specialize in early stage mesothelioma, while others specialize in certain subtypes of the cancer. Some patients may like to know how to improve their prognosis after their diagnosis. Our goal is to help patients get the most individualized care for their unique situation.

Patient’s Preferences and Resources – We know that the best doctor for a patient may not be in their city – or even their state. But we also know that most patients can’t simply uproot themselves from their families and daily responsibilities to travel across the country for medical care. That’s why we match patients with doctors that are as close to their geographical region as possible. We also help arrange travel services and grants (often on a free or reduced fare) for patients who do need to commute to their specialist.

We also understand that patients may not wish to use conventional medicine or current practices. That’s why we also match patients with clinical trials and offer information on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). The clinical trials provide access to innovative, not-yet-available treatments that researchers hope will be the next big thing in mesothelioma treatment. And CAM therapies can offer relief for patients whether they elect traditional treatment or take an all-natural approach. Each patient has their own path, and we do our best to support them along the way.

Author bio: Faith Franz has spent two years researching and writing for The Mesothelioma Center. As an advocate for alternative medicine, she encourages patients to explore all of the treatment options that could potentially save their life.


~~If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any~~

Elyn Jacobs is a breast cancer survivor, professional cancer coach, radio talk show host, speaker, and the Executive Director for the Emerald Heart Cancer Foundation. She is also on the peer review board of the Natural Standard Database. Elyn empowers women to choose the path for treatment that best fits their own individual needs. She mentors women who are coping with issues of well-being associated with breast cancer and its aftermath; she is passionate about helping others move forward into a life of health and wellbeing. Elyn has been featured on CNN Money, Talk About Health and more and has contributed to Breast Cancer Answers as well as written for the Pink Paper, Breast Cancer Wellness, Natural Healing-Natural Wellness, Integrative Oncology Essentials, and other publications and newsletters. Elyn lives in New York with her husband and two young boys.

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