Mesothelioma Center Review – UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
The University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center is the foremost mesothelioma treatment facility in Northern California. The Center provides mesothelioma care at the Mount Zion campus in San Francisco. At the thoracic and oncology departments at UCSF, patients receive care from some of the most renowned medical professionals in the fields of thoracic surgery and mesothelioma. The research facility and clinicians at the center have both received grants from the National Institutes of Health for the investigation of new treatments for mesothelioma.
The center has a primary focus on mesothelioma research. It is the recipient of the largest funding grant from the National Cancer Institute in California and the eighth largest among cancer treatment centers in the nation. The center’s research projects have led to the development of new techniques and therapies for mesothelioma. These include enhanced chemotherapy drug regimens and an expanded body of knowledge about the connection between cancer and genetics. Improved surgical techniques have led to the use of technologically advanced surgical aids in the operating room.
The Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center offers treatment from specialists in several medical fields. The center gives patients access to clinicians, surgeons, nurses and nutritionists who all contribute to the patients’ care from diagnosis to postoperative treatment. The mesothelioma team is led by the Chief of General Thoracic Surgery, Dr. David Jablons M.D. Dr. Jablons spent years treating mesothelioma patients at Brigham and Women’s Hospital under the leadership of one of the foremost experts in mesothelioma, Dr. David Sugarbaker. Dr. Jablons is actively involved in both research and clinical care of mesothelioma patients at UCSF. He has extensive experience in performing complex surgeries for mesothelioma patients, including pleurectomy and decortication or extrapleural pneumonectomy.
At the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, patients have access to state-of-the-art radiation therapy treatments. The radiation oncology clinic provides gamma knife radiation therapy and intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). IMRT allows clinicians to protect non-cancerous tissues during radiation so that they can more aggressively treat the tumor with higher doses of radiation. IMRT is not the standard treatment for mesothelioma patients, but it may be effective for some patients. A study of patients who had an extrapleural pneumonectomy (the removal of the lung, pleura, lymph nodes and diaphragm) followed by radiation therapy indicates a reduced incidence of cancer progression in the chest for those who received IMRT after surgery.
UCSF’s approach to mesothelioma also incorporates emotional and psychological support for patients and families. The Ida & Joseph Friend Cancer Resource Center, which is part of the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, offers patients and their families information and support services to deal with the diagnosis and treatment of mesothelioma. In addition, UCSF has a Psycho-Oncology Service for patients and families who require further support.
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