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Eric Vallieres, M.D.

As the director of the Swedish Cancer Institute’s Lung Cancer Program, Dr. Eric Vallieres has a special interest in both lung cancer and mesothelioma. Both mesothelioma, which is nearly always caused by asbestos exposure, and lung cancer, which sometimes is, are difficult to diagnose and treat. Dr. Vallieres treats these tough cancers through surgery and is one of few experts in mesothelioma. He is also one of the few surgeons able to perform the radical and difficult surgical treatment for pleural mesothelioma called extrapleural pneumonectomy.

Education and Early Career

Dr. Vallieres is the surgical director at the Swedish Cancer Institute in Seattle, Washington, but his interest and career in medicine began in his home country of Canada. He attended medical school in Quebec at the Université Laval Medical School, graduating in 1982. He completed general surgery residency at the University of Toronto Hospital and stayed there when done for a clinical fellowship in thoracic surgery. He followed that fellowship with another in thoracic surgery at the University of Bordeaux in France. He is board certified in both general and thoracic surgery.

After finishing his education, residencies and fellowships in surgery, Dr. Vallieres returned to Canada for his first positions as a physician and surgeon specializing in thoracic procedures. His first position was from 1991 to 1994 at the University of Alberta’s Department of Surgery in Edmonton. He then moved on to the University of Ottawa in Ontario to work as an assistant professor of surgery from 1994 to 1996.

Career in Washington and the Swedish Cancer Institute

Dr. Vallieres did not come to the U.S. to work until 1996 when he joined the staff of the University of Washington’s School of Medicine. Here, in Seattle, he became an associate professor of surgery and earned a teacher of the year award in 1998. He continued to work as a professor at the University of Washington for eight more years.

In 2004, Dr. Vallieres became the Swedish Cancer Institute’s director of surgery, where he still works and runs the surgery department. He conducts research, directs the surgical program, and works with patients at the Institute’s two hospitals: at Cherry Hill and First Hill.

Research and Specialties

Although he is a general thoracic surgeon, Dr. Vallieres specializes in the treatment of lung cancer and mesothelioma and is one of the few surgeons able to perform one of the most radical of all surgeries: the extrapleural pneumonectomy, a procedure that involves removing a lung along with much of the rest of the tissue on one side of the chest cavity. It is a difficult and dangerous procedure, but often a last hope for patients with mesothelioma.

Dr. Vallieres is also a proponent of and authority in treating mesothelioma patients with a tri-modal approach. Tri-modal treatment involves using surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy to treat mesothelioma. This technique for treating the cancer is now known to keep patients alive longer and give them better outcomes. Dr. Vallieres is also well known for his individualized approach to treating patients and his ability and willingness to spend time with patients, teaching them what he does and what their options are.

Honors and Awards

Dr. Vallieres’ long career in cancer and surgery has earned him a reputation as a physician and researcher dedicated to caring for patients and for excellent treatment. He won a number of official recognitions and awards including the designation of America’s Top Doctors for Cancer several years in a row as well as one of America’s Top Doctors. He also won a teaching award for his work as an associate professor of surgery.

Dr. Vallieres is a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in Canada, a member of the Western Thoracic Surgical Association, and a member of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. He also belongs to the National Cancer Institute’s Lung Site Committee in Canada and is the vice-chairman of the Southwest Oncology Group’s Lung Committee. His research work has been published in numerous scholarly journals and he has co-authored over 150 papers.

Choosing to work with Dr. Vallieres and the Swedish Cancer Institute is a smart move for any mesothelioma patient. If you live in or near Seattle, Washington, you have a true expert and skilled surgeon in your backyard that can help you select the best treatment plan for mesothelioma.

Page edited by Dave Foster

Dave has been a mesothelioma Patient Advocate for over 10 years. He consistently attends all major national and international mesothelioma meetings. In doing so, he is able to stay on top of the latest treatments, clinical trials, and research results. He also personally meets with mesothelioma patients and their families and connects them with the best medical specialists and legal representatives available. Connect with Patient Advocate Dave Foster

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