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Choose your mesothelioma treatment team wisely

Once diagnosed with mesothelioma, your primary concern should be to find the best possible care that is available.

The diagnosing physician probably will refer you to a colleague; maybe he or she will suggest a couple of options. Determine whether or not these oncologists accept your insurance plan and make an initial appointment to get a feel for the "vibe" the doctor puts out.

You should always seek out a cancer team affiliated with an established cancer hospital. They are the most likely to offer cutting edge treatments and know of the latest drug trials going on around the nation.

Those living in rural areas should be prepared to travel to the nearest large city for treatment. Sometimes this could entail a temporary relocation, but likely will just be a commute.

Unless and until you have to battle cancer, you probably are unaware that there are three types of oncologists — radiation, medical and surgical. During the course of your mesothelioma treatment, you may see all three, or you might see only one or two. It is always good to have a good rapport with your oncologist, but keep in mind that a gruff or taciturn demeanor can hide a brilliant clinical mind. Just because your oncologist isn't the life of the party doesn't mean that he or she isn't the best physician to treat your disease.

If you have preconceived notions or prejudices about a physician's ethnic or racial background, try to set these feelings aside if that person is the best choice of oncologist for treating your mesothelioma. Oncologists come from all walks of life and every corner of the globe, so you might wind up being pleasantly surprised when your concerns are unwarranted.

An attorney who deals with asbestos exposure claims often is one source of referrals for medical care.

Source: American Cancer Society, "Choosing a Doctor and a Hospital," accessed July 29, 2016

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