An individual who has been diagnosed with the mesothelioma cancer may be referred to a specialist or a healthcare facility that provides thoracic oncology services.
Several Types of Cancer
The field of thoracic oncology has been in existence for a relatively long time, in part because of the many types of cancer that can arise in the chest area (thorax):
- Lung cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Mesothelioma (pleural mesothelioma and pericardial mesothelioma )
- Chest-wall cancers
- Mediastinal tumors (in the cavity that separates the lungs)
- Cancers that begin elsewhere and then spread to the chest
Decades of Thoracic Oncology Service
Lung cancer, whether from environmental toxins or tobacco use, has long been a major health threat in the United States, and many thoracic oncology programs have been offering treatment and research advances for decades.
Most thoracic oncology programs take multi-disciplinary approaches to treating a cancer such as mesothelioma, with specialists in areas such as:
- Diagnostic imaging
- Thoracic surgery
- Medical oncology, including chemotherapy
- Pulmonary medicine
- Radiation oncology
- Oncology nursing
Determining a Mesothelioma Treatment Plan
The multi-disciplinary approach is often the most beneficial for a mesothelioma cancer patient, in part because there is no cure for the disease at this time and it is difficult to predict which type of mesotheliom treatment — surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or something else — will be best for a given patient.
Tests to Evaluate the Patient’s Mesothelioma
When a mesothelioma cancer patient enters a thoracic oncology program, he or she will probably be subjected to a battery of diagnostic tests and imaging procedures, enabling the thoracic oncology team to evaluate and confirm the stage of the mesothelioma cancer and devise a treatment plan. A biopsy (sampling) of cancer cells or tissue may be performed, perhaps by:
- Fine-needle aspiration biopsy
- Endoscopic ultrasound-guided needle aspiration
A mesothelioma patient can also expect to undergo a chest CT scan, PET scan (or combined PET-CT scan), pulmonary function testing, and cardiopulmonary exercise testing.
Mesothelioma Progress Updates
Although these tests can be a trying time for a patient and his or her family, they’re well worth the time and effort. An accurate prognosis and a complete treatment plan depend in part on the results of these tests. It is also likely that the patient’s thoracic oncology team will meet at regular intervals to discuss the patient’s progress and make any necessary adjustments to the treatment plan.
Find a Thoracic Oncology Program Near You
If your loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you can find out where and how to get the best treatment available to you. Contact mesothelioma treatment center for more information about thoracic oncology programs.