Mesothelioma Cancer Centers
For most people, the name “Yale” is synonymous with “excellence” — and its cancer center is no exception. Located in New Haven, Connecticut, Yale Cancer Center is a collaborative effort between two highly respected organizations: the Yale School of Medicine, a top-notch medical school, and Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven, a hospital that is ranked 24th in cancer care by U.S. News & World Report. Yale Cancer Center is a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of just 40 throughout the country and the only one in southern New England.
It’s impossible to think about cancer treatment today without touching on a treatment that was pioneered at Yale University — namely, chemotherapy. Cancer chemotherapy and cancer drug development was discovered at Yale, and the first-ever cancer drug was administered there in 1942. The university has also played a role in other cancer milestones: As far back as the early 1900s, a Yale doctor developed a method for growing tumor cells, an important step in understanding how tumors develop. Later, the first FDA-approved selective immunotherapy treatment for cancer was developed at the university.
In the early 1970s, with cancer rates growing to problematic levels throughout the United States, the federal government passed a law known as the National Cancer Act. The law declared a so-called “war on cancer” and led to the founding of several excellent cancer-fighting institutions, including the Yale Cancer Center. Over the past four decades, the center has grown into a powerhouse for research, technology and clinical care.
Its successes are rooted in research. By emphasizing the molecular origins of cancer, the Yale Cancer Center promotes treatments that are created for specific types of cancers. Through this process, which the center calls “personalized medicine,” the patient can expect more targeted treatments and fewer side effects.
In recent years, Yale Cancer Center has seen its facilities brought up to par with its reputation. In 2009, Yale-New Haven Hospital opened a 14-story, state-of-the-art facility specifically designed for the delivery of cancer treatment. The Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven — named after a generous gift from Yale alumnus Joel Smilow and his wife, Joan — is now the home for all of Yale Cancer Center’s patient treatment.
Mesothelioma Treatment at the Yale Cancer Center
The Yale Cancer Center practices “patient-centered care,” putting the patient at the center of the treatment process and ensuring that he and his family have a voice in all decisions. Each patient at Yale is treated by a multidisciplinary team, including medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, specialized nurses, physical therapists, clergy and others. These specialists interact constantly, sharing knowledge and determining the best course of action for their patients’ health. In addition to treating patients, oncologists at Yale are also at the forefront of meaningful cancer research. This includes an expansion of the center’s clinical trials program and the creation of a new cancer biology institute at its West Haven campus, where researchers will study cell signaling, cancer immunology and drug development.
Mesothelioma patients at the Yale Cancer Center are treated through Smilow Cancer Hospital’s Thoracic Oncology Program, a center for the treatment of lung cancers, esophageal cancer, and other thoracic malignancies. After the patient undergoes a series of tests, including CT scans and biopsies, physicians on the hospital’s Thoracic Tumor Board discuss the case and decide on an appropriate course of treatment. Treatment frequently consists of a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, but technological advances are leading to more and better options — from minimally invasive surgeries to 4D conformal treatment planning and stereotactic body radiosurgery. New treatments are constantly emerging.
There is also a “human” side to treatment at Yale; while physical health is a primary concern, a patient’s emotional and psychological issues are also addressed. For starters, the facilities at Smilow are designed with relaxation and comfort in mind. An impressive, two-story glass lobby with a granite water feature and maple woodwork soothe visitors from the moment they walk in the door. An outdoor garden on the seventh floor provides an oasis with trees, plants, a stream, and views of New Haven, perfect for a breath of fresh air. Patients and their loved ones can also benefit from support groups, arts programs, and The Boutique, a service that offers prostheses, wigs, makeup advice and other products to help patients feel their best during treatment.
Author: Linda Molinari
Editor in Chief, Mesothelioma Cancer AllianceRead about Linda
Reviewer: Annette Charlevois
Patient Support CoordinatorRead about Annette
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