Where to find mesothelioma clinics and hospitals

Searching for where to find mesothelioma clinics and hospitals might at first seem like a daunting task.

However, it needn’t be. There are a variety of resources one can consult when looking where to find mesothelioma clinics and hospitals.

Here are few such resources.

Commission on Cancer (CoC). This American College of Surgeons program accredits those cancer-center programs that have demonstrated a continuous commitment to “improving survival and quality of life for cancer patients.” According to the CoC, it has accredited more than 1,500 cancer programs in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. To obtain accreditation, applicant programs must cover all the bases—from prevention to survivorship. Click here to see a list of CoC-approved cancer centers in the U.S.

Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC). This organization’s website includes a searchable database of member institutions. Use the search phrase “cancer centers in the U.S.” and then refine the search results by clicking on “membership profiles”. The ACCC database includes profiles of 695 member facilities.

U.S. News & World Report. Each year, this venerable periodical lists the nation’s Top 50 hospital-based cancer programs after evaluating nearly 900 of them coast to coast. In addition to the Top 50 list, U.S. News & World Report also reveals the hospitals that deserve honorable mention as high performers. Click here to access the magazine’s most recent “Best Hospitals for Cancer” rankings.

Veterans Administration (VA). Mesothelioma patients who served in the U.S. military are generally eligible to receive treatment at medical centers and hospitals run by the VA. A number of these hospitals are highly regarded for the quality of their mesothelioma treatment services. Use the VA’s searchable database to look for those particular facilities. Click here to see the results of a search using the term “mesothelioma hospitals”.

Referrals from local doctors. Typically, the first physicians to interact with someone newly diagnosed (or, at least, suspected of having) mesothelioma will be a family doctor, emergency room doctor, or local specialist (such as an oncologist or pulmonologist). Ask them which cancer center they would elect to go to for the best care and best chance of long survival were it they who had been found to have mesothelioma.

Recommendation from a mesothelioma lawyer. Very often people who are diagnosed with an asbestos-exposure disease like mesothelioma seek compensation to pay their medical expenses not covered by insurance and to make up for wages lost due to the disease’s disabling effects. For help obtaining that compensation, they turn to a mesothelioma lawyer, one whose practice is focused on asbestos disease litigation. Such an attorney will likely be highly familiar with all of the best nearby mesothelioma clinics and hospitals. He or she should be able to steer you directly to one or more of them. To talk to a mesothelioma lawyer, click here.

Why care about where to find a mesothelioma clinic or hospital

The reason patients should be interested in knowing where to find mesothelioma clinics and hospitals is that those facilities are usually far better equipped and experienced than are generalized cancer centers when it comes to treating this disease.

As such, mesothelioma clinics and hospitals are often regarded as the places offering the best hope of achieving long survival—beating the mesothelioma prognosis, in other words.

There are a number of things that distinguish mesothelioma clinics and hospitals from general cancer-care facilities.

First, mesothelioma clinics and hospitals are staffed by doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals who intimately know this rare disease. Their higher-level understanding usually translates into faster diagnoses and more effective interventions.

Second, mesothelioma clinics and hospitals are commonly at the forefront of mesothelioma research. That means these facilities are likely to be using the most advanced drugs, treatment protocols, and technologies long before they are available anywhere else.

Third, owing to the fact that mesothelioma clinics and hospitals tend to be research trailblazers, they participate in many clinical trials. Consequently, patients at these specialized facilities are more likely to be able to take earliest advantage of and benefit from promising new therapeutics.

How to choose a mesothelioma clinic or hospital

The American Cancer Society offers a free worksheet designed to help narrow the choices after successfully finding a number of mesothelioma clinics and hospitals for consideration.

The worksheet lists a number of questions to ask concerning each candidate facility. For example, one question would be whether a facility offers in-house all the services that a cancer patient might require. The idea here is that it is much better for patients to have onsite access to the full spectrum of cancer services rather than endure the inconvenience and discomfort of being transferred to other facilities (and then back again) if needed services are only available elsewhere.

At minimum, the services a cancer center should have onsite are a pathology lab, diagnostic lab, blood bank, respiratory care department, physical rehabilitation department, outpatient infusion center, and, of course, an emergency room. One more that the American Cancer Society believes needs to be onsite is a tumor board: this is a gathering of cancer-treatment specialists who meet often (usually weekly) to discuss difficult cases and brainstorm ways to produce good outcomes.

The American Cancer Society indicates that mesothelioma clinics and hospitals worth considering are any that have passed muster with an accrediting body such as the Joint Commission, National Cancer Institute (NCI), or National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN).

The Joint Commission evaluates and accredits U.S.-based hospitals and other types of healthcare facilities. The Joint Commission’s evaluation process is rigorous and—if accreditation is granted—must be repeated three years later (plus every three years after that) in order to remain accredited.

The NCI (which operates under the auspices of the federal National Institutes of Health) confers its stamp of approval on cancer centers that exude comprehensive excellence in the areas of cancer treatment and outcomes, especially those that emphasize research and clinical trials. The NCI does not recognize just any cancer center—so far, just over 70 have made the grade.

Meanwhile, the NCCN is even more discriminating with regard to the mesothelioma hospitals and clinics it designates as the cream of the crop. There are only about 30 facilities bearing the NCCN seal of approval.

Greg Sandifer

About the author…

Gregory Sandifer graduated from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and received his law degree from Western State University College of Law in Fullerton, California.

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