Mesothelioma and Pleural Disease Survivorship

Mesothelioma and Pleural Disease Treatment at Penn Medicine

When treating patients with mesothelioma or pleural disease, Penn Medicine pleural specialists offer more treatment options than most other health systems across the country and around the world.

Penn Medicine's Mesothelioma and Pleural Program and Penn's Abramson Cancer Center in Philadelphia, PA bring together internationally renowned experts in medical, surgical and radiation oncology and pulmonology who collaborate in the diagnosis, treatment and research of mesothelioma and pleural disease.

Focus on Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that affects the lining of the chest or abdominal cavities. It is most often attributed to exposure to airborne asbestos particles and occurs in both men and women. Asbestos fibers are naturally occurring fibrous minerals that were commonly used in construction and thermal insulation as a fire retardant until the 1970s. Asbestos is still used in products, but regulations in place since the 1980s limit its use.

Air is breathed in through the nasal passageways, travels through the trachea and bronchi to the lungs.

Penn's multidisciplinary approach to cancer diagnosis and treatment provides better outcomes and gives patients access to the most advanced treatment, surgical techniques and clinical trials.

Read more About Mesothelioma and Pleural Disease Treatment at Penn Medicine

Diagnosing Mesothelioma and Pleural Disease

An accurate diagnosis is the key to providing patients with the high level of care that they require for mesothelioma or pleural disease. At Penn, specialists who have extensive experience diagnosing and treating these complex conditions employ the latest tests and tools to provide patients with a timely, accurate diagnosis.

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Mesothelioma and Pleural Disease Treatment

Penn Medicine's pleural specialists develop personalized treatment plans for patients with mesothelioma and pleural disease, designed to give every patient the best possible outcome. Penn's treatment options for mesothelioma and pleural disease include:

  • Surgery
    • Extrapleural pneumonectomy
    • Indwelling pleural catheter (IPC)
    • Lung-sparing surgery
    • Minimally invasive surgery
    • Peritoneal cytoreductive surgery
    • Pleural sclerosis and fibrinolytics
    • Therapeutic thoracentesis
    • Thoracotomy
    • Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS)
  • Radiation Therapy
    • Brachytherapy
    • Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)
    • Photodynamic therapy (PDT)
    • Proton therapy
    • Volumetric-modulated arc therapy (VMAT)
  • Chemotherapy and Biologic Therapies
    • Combination chemotherapy
    • Immunotherapy
    • Targeted therapies
    • Gene therapy
    • Adjuvant therapy
  • Interventional Pulmonology Treatments
    • Endobronchial ultrasound-guided biopsy and mediastinal staging
    • Pleuroscopy and pleurodesis
  • Clinical Trials
  • Other Treatments
    • Integrative medicine and wellness
    • Palliative care
    • Penn Home Care and Hospice

Patients who come to Penn Medicine for their cancer care benefit from coordinated care across disciplines and modalities. The expertise of Penn's Abramson Cancer Center in cancer diagnosis, treatment planning and integrated medicine, helps patients who come to Penn Mesothelioma and Pleural Program receive nationally recognized care that leads to better outcomes and improved quality of life.

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Mesothelioma and Pleural Disease Survivorship

At Penn Medicine, significant research in the diagnosis and treatment of mesothelioma and pleural disease is giving patients with these conditions new hope for long-term survival.

To meet patients' varied physical, emotional and financial needs, Penn's robust network of navigation specialists includes social workers, stress management specialists, alternative medicine practitioners and clergy. Additionally, the support groups and survivorship programs at Penn provide patients and their families with a valuable network that serves to enhance and extend the quality of life following a cancer diagnosis.


Personalized Mesothelioma and Pleural Disease Survivorship Care

At the end of treatment, mesothelioma and pleural disease patients should schedule a survivorship visit with their oncologist and nurse practitioner. At this time, patients are provided with a summary of the treatment received as well as a plan for follow-up care.

Penn cancer providers work one-on-one with patients to develop survivorship care plans. Since every cancer is unique, the plans are tailored to the patients.

The survivorship care plan includes information on:

  • Potential long-term or late side effects of cancer treatment, the symptoms and treatment
  • Recommendations for cancer screening for disease recurrence or a new cancer
  • Psychosocial effects, including relationships and sexuality
  • Planning follow-up visits

A survivorship care plan encourages patients to review the information with their health care team and become active participants in their follow-up care.

Penn also offers patients a number of support programs and groups to enhance their survivorship care plans.

Mesothelioma and Pleural Disease Survivorship Programs at Penn Medicine

Penn Medicine’s Living Well After Cancer™ Program is a nationally recognized program that focuses on issues facing cancer survivors. A member of the LIVESTRONG™ Survivorship Center of Excellence Network, the Abramson Cancer Center focuses on survivorship, a distinct phase of care.

Prescription for Living: The Cancer Survivorship Program at the Abramson Cancer Center at Pennsylvania Hospital provides patients with a summary of important information about specific cancer diagnoses and treatments, as well as follow-up information and steps to take towards recovery, supportive care and education to help patients adjust to their lives as cancer survivors.

Continued Mesothelioma and Pleural Disease Support

Penn offers cancer patients support programs and groups to enhance their survivorship care plans.

The Abramson Cancer Center and Abramson Cancer Center at Pennsylvania Hospital offer a wide range of materials and host many activities that provide education and support to address key areas of concern including survivorship for cancer patients and their loved ones.

Focus On: Mesothelioma is a day-long conference for patients and their loved ones addressing issues surrounding mesothelioma and pleural disease.


Maryann Volpe

"There is a plan and meaning for everyone. If you get through cancer it really does change you. It makes you a better person: you live more in the moment, you become more compassionate, and you deeply understand what other people are going through

Stand Up to Cancer

Peter O'Dwyer, MD, professor of Hematology-Oncology and program director of Development Therapeutics in the Abramson Cancer Center, was interviewed on NBC10's 10! Show about Penn's work as part of the Stand Up to Cancer Dream Team... Read more

Clinical Trials

Mesothelioma Trials

A Phase 1 Study of the Safety, Tolerability, Pharmacokinetics and Immunoregulatory Activity of... more