Mesothelioma Center Review – Swedish Medical Center
The Swedish Cancer Institute is a leading provider of cancer treatment services in Seattle, Washington. As part of the network of treatment centers at the Swedish Medical Center, the Swedish Cancer Institute diagnoses and treats a range of cancers, including aggressive and uncommon cancers such as mesothelioma. The Swedish Cancer Institute is nationally recognized for supporting a staff of dedicated mesothelioma specialists who have extensive experience and training in the treatment of mesothelioma.
At the Swedish Cancer Institute, clinicians rely on a combination of procedures and therapies to treat mesothelioma during both early and advanced stages of the disease. Surgeons use the newest surgical techniques, such as robotic surgery, which provide shortened recovery times for surgical patients. The medical team implements both surgical and non-surgical methods to treat mesothelioma. Patients may receive chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, chemotherapy or a combination of these therapies.
Dr. Eric Vallieres, M.D., is the director of surgery and the Lung Cancer Program, and a leader in mesothelioma care. Dr. Vallieres is one of a handful of surgeons who is experienced in performing an extrapleural pneumonectomy. This complex surgery removes a significant amount of tissue from the chest cavity to eliminate the cancerous growth. For certain patients with pleural mesothelioma, this procedure may be the best opportunity for survival.
One of the leading advancements in mesothelioma treatment at the Swedish Cancer Institute is the use of advanced radiation therapy techniques. Clinicians are able to apply radiation in a directed manner through CyberKnife and Gamma Knife Tools. While radiation typically destroys both healthy and damaged cells, these techniques can help preserve non-cancerous cells.
The Swedish Cancer Institute also provides patients with a dual treatment technique that consists of surgery and a specialized radiation therapy. Known as “SMART” treatment, or “Surgery for Mesothelioma After Radiation Therapy,” surgical patients who have had their lung removed are administered a powerful dose of radiation for five days following surgery. SMART has led to improved rates of survival and longer life expectancy for patients with pleural mesothelioma. Not every mesothelioma center is able to provide SMART as a treatment alternative; at the Swedish Cancer Institute, patients have access to this treatment.
Eligible patients may also be enrolled in the clinical trial program at the Swedish Cancer Institute. Clinical trials implement the latest breakthroughs in mesothelioma research and are essential in advancing the cure for mesothelioma. In one significant ongoing clinical trial, patients were given standard chemotherapy treatment along with an angiogenesis inhibiting drug. The drug, known as cediranib maleate, is thought to be effective in halting tumor angiogenesis, which is the formation of blood vessels in the tumor. Clinicians are hopeful that this is a promising step toward eliminating the blood supply to the cancerous tumor and therefore impeding further growth of the cancer.
Patients at the Swedish Cancer Institute also have access to various support services to help them cope with the disease. Patients can participate in therapies that relieve mesothelioma symptoms and receive counseling that focuses on the patient and the family.
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