The process of choosing a doctor can be a difficult and overwhelming one. Understanding the function of the various types of doctors a patient is likely to encounter during their treatment process can help patients make decisions concerning their health. As is the case with most cancers, those with mesothelioma are likely to work with a number of specialists throughout the progression of their treatment in lieu of just one doctor.
What is a Multimodal Treatment?
Mesothelioma is rarely treated with a single treatment method like radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or surgery. Patients with mesothelioma are commonly prescribed a course of treatment from a multi-modality approach which combines a variation of traditional treatments, both curative and palliative. It is important for patients to be proactive concerning their treatment options. In many cases, it will be possible for a patient to take some time in order to make this important decision.
Types of Mesothelioma Doctors
Apart from their general practitioner, a patient who is suffering from the symptoms associated with mesothelioma is likely to be referred to a number of specialists. Together, this team of doctors can combine their areas of expertise in order to provide the best possible treatment and prognosis available. One of these specialists will most likely be an oncologist, a physician that focuses on various types of cancer. Alternatively, if surgery is an option, the oncologist will either choose to perform the surgery themselves or recommend the services of a surgical specialist. Depending on where the tumor or malignancy is located, a thoracic or abdominal surgeon is usually among those called upon to assist in the surgical element of patient’s treatment. Furthermore, therapeutic radiologists or radiation oncologists are also usually called upon to perform radiation therapy designed to reduce the size or threat of the tumor.
Along with more traditional methods and cancer specialists, patients with mesothelioma may also visit additional specialists, such as a pulmonary therapist or a pulmonologist. These doctors work to improve overall lung health, as well as provide follow-up care for the primary approaches to therapy. However, the physical health of the patient is only one component of their treatment. In many cases, a diagnosis of mesothelioma can present the patient and their loved ones with mental and emotional challenges. In order to combat this, patients can visit either a psychiatrist or psychologist as a means of maintaining a positive outlook. Having an optimistic attitude during treatment has been shown to improve the degree to which a patient is responsive to physical forms of treatment.
How to Get Involved
The doctors who work in the various disciplines of mesothelioma diagnosis and treatment continue to improve the health and lives of the people afflicted with this fatal form of cancer. Patients should remain active participants in their prognosis and treatment. The doctors and specialists a patient will encounter during this time are always available to answer questions and address patient concerns.