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Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that begins in the mesothelium — a thin, protective lining that covers the inside of your chest and abdomen and also lines the outer surface of many of your organs, such as your heart. It secretes a fluid that allows your organs to move against each other, such as the expansion and contraction of your lungs. The mesothelium that lines the chest, called the pleura, is the most common site for mesothelioma.

Unlike many other cancers, mesothelioma usually doesn’t grow as a single tumor. Initially, it grows within the lining and affects how well the lining works. It can cause symptoms like shortness of breath or chest pain. Over time, the cancer can grow into nearby organs or spread to other parts of your body.

Mesotheliomas are grouped based on how the cancer cells look under a microscope:

  • Epithelioid mesothelioma
  • Sarcomatoid mesothelioma
  • Mixed (biphasic) mesothelioma

Why Choose Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center?

One of only 71 NCI-designated cancer centers in the United States. Sylvester is one of only two cancer centers in Florida that have been recognized by the National Cancer Institute. The team earned this distinction through its outstanding work conducting research in its laboratories, treating patients in its clinics and hospitals, and reaching out to medically underserved communities with innovative prevention strategies.

Robotic video-assisted surgery program ranked among top 10 in the Southeast. Our excellent surgeons use robotic video-assisted technology to improve patient outcomes, including decreased blood loss in surgery, shorter hospital stays, and higher survival rates on average for appropriate patients.

Advanced radiation oncology tools. Sylvester is one of only five medical centers in the country with ViewRay™ — MRI-guided radiation therapy. Our RapidArc® radiotherapy system delivers intensity modulated external radiation therapy (IMRT). These tools lead to more efficient and effective treatments, shorter treatment times, pinpoint accuracy in tumor targeting, and less damage to surrounding healthy tissue.

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  • Surgery

    For some early-stage mesotheliomas, surgery may be used. Your surgeon will remove as much of the cancer as possible, followed by other treatments. For more advanced mesotheliomas, your surgeon may use less extensive forms of surgery to help relieve symptoms and discomfort caused by the cancer, such as breathing problems.

  • Radiation Therapy

    Often used after surgery, radiation therapy can kill any remaining cancer cells. It may also be used to help relieve symptoms for advanced cancer.


  • Chemotherapy

    For early stage mesothelioma, your oncologist may use chemotherapy before surgery to decrease your risk of recurrence and improve overall survival after surgery. Chemotherapy is usually better tolerated before a major operation than after. It may also be used during or after surgery to try to kill any remaining cancer cells. Chemotherapy is often the main treatment (sometimes with radiation therapy) for people with advanced mesothelioma or who aren’t candidates for surgery.

    Locations: If you need intravenous (infusion) chemotherapy, you can have it at the Comprehensive Treatment Unit (CTU) at Sylvester’s main location in Miami, a 12,000-square-foot unit that includes 33 recliners and 11 private rooms. If you prefer, you may have your infusion treatments at the Kendall, Plantation, Hollywood, Coral Springs, Coral Gables, and Deerfield Beach locations.

Accepted Insurances

Note: Health plans that are currently contracted with UHealth are listed below. However, please check with your insurance provider to verify that UHealth is part of your provider network.