In the spring 2015 edition of the UCLA quarterly newsletter, Vital Signs, UCLA’s Comprehensive Mesothelioma Program presents their innovative approach to treating this complex and difficult to treat cancer.
As one of the early pioneers for the lung-sparing Pleurectomy / Decortication (PD) over the Extrapleural Pneumonectomy surgery, Dr. Robert Cameron, director of the UCLA Comprehensive Mesothelioma Program, has long believed that leaving the lung intact and removing only the pleura and visible cancer cells surrounding the lungs is most beneficial to the patients long term survival and quality of life. According to Dr. Cameron, “There is no current treatment that will eradicate every cell, but our goal is to help patients live for a long time with their disease while maximizing their quality of life.”
After surgery, patients are then treated with a form of high dose radiation called TomoTherapy, which is delivered to the cancer site with much greater precision than common radiation therapy, patients also experience fewer negative side effects as a result of the localized treatment.
The Comprehensive Mesotheloma team at UCLA has also pioneered treatments to address tumor regrowth after the initial treatment, including immunotherapy and cryoablation. Continual low-dose administration of interferon can delay the regrowth of tumors in some patients for five to ten years. If nodules resurface, cryoablation, a minimally invasive outpatient procedure which freezes the tumor cells and kills them can also be used instead of chemotherapy.
Dr. Cameron’s team wants to approach mesothelioma care similar to the approach of treating a chronic disease such as diabetes, holistically and with continuous support. Given how rare mesothelioma is, Dr. Cameron stresses patients to be treated at a specialty cancer center like UCLA with experience and ongoing research in this disease.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Cameron at UCLA please call his office at (310) 470-8980.