VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System
Mesothelioma Cancer Treatment
At the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center, Veterans from all over the nation with all stages of mesothelioma are provided with expert surgical, radiation and medical oncology services.
- Surgical techniques include lung-sparing tumor surgery (pleurectomy and decortication or P/D), lasers, bronchial (airway) and esophageal stents and video-and thorascopic biopsy procedures. The West LA VA has been a pioneer in lung-sparing therapies and has worked closely with UCLA in providing the best surgical care for mesothelioma patients available anywhere.
- Radiation therapy techniques include stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and radiosurgery. The newest techniques allow our radiation oncologists to customize treatment areas to maximize coverage to the areas of risk following surgery but spare normal tissue including uninvolved lung, heart, liver, spleen, kidneys and spinal cord.
- Chemotherapy, immunotherapy and targeted biologic agents are chosen based on extensive experience treating mesothelioma. Our unique approach and uses of chemotherapy in terms of timing as well as sarcomatoid tumors (see below) are unique in the world.
Pioneer of Lung-Sparing Surgery, Cryoablation, and Maintenance Immunotherapy
Since 1998, The West Los Angeles VA Medical Center has partnered with UCLA's Comprehensive Mesothelioma Program to provide Veterans with lung-sparing surgery and innovative intraoperative and postoperative therapies that stress quality of life as well as survival. Patients benefit from the combined VA-UCLA's expertise in performing a meticulous procedure (pleurectomy and decortication) that removes all visible tumor from the chest while sparing normal structures, such as the lung, pericardium and diaphragm.
The surgery is followed by precise radiation therapy to target remaining cancer cells and avoid injury to the preserved lung. Patients also benefit from a number of existing and investigational therapies to target the remaining microscopic disease and slow its re-growth.
Recognizing that mesothelioma cannot be entirely eliminated from the body, our physicians treat it as they would any chronic condition. That means we use frequent (often daily) well-tolerated therapies to slow its growth rather than using concentrated treatments whose toxicities may be excessive. The West LA VA and UCLA have pioneered the use of therapies such as immunotherapy and cryoablation, which have been recognized by other leading experts to have led to significant advances in the care of patients with this condition.
Unique Center in the World: Treatment of sarcomatoid mesothelioma
Patients with sarcomatoid mesothelioma benefit from The Mesothelioma Center’s expertise in this rare disease. We have found that chemotherapy agents typically used to treat sarcomas in other areas of the body are more effective in these patients than are the typical mesothelioma chemotherapy agents. This initial aggressive chemotherapy, followed by surgery and radiation, has provided significant advantages for patients in this small group. All patients are treated by a multidisciplinary team. A dedicated nurse practitioner helps to coordinate care and is available to answer questions from patients and referring physicians.
West Los Angeles VA Medical Center
Hours of Operation
Monday - Friday
7am - 4:30pm