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Jacques P. Fontaine, M.D.

Dr. Jacques P. Fontaine is a young and rising star in the world of thoracic surgery. He has been working at Tampa, Florida’s Moffitt Cancer Center since 2011. He is a part of the Mesothelioma Research and Treatment Center at Moffitt, adding his talents and experience to help develop new multidisciplinary approaches to treating mesothelioma patients. Dr. Fontaine is also an associate professor of surgery at the College of Medicine at the University of South Florida.

Education and Career

Dr. Fontaine is a native of Quebec in Canada and completed medical school at Montreal’s McGill University. He did his general surgery training at Boston University and also participated in a fellowship at Harvard University. He became the chief resident of thoracic surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a renowned Boston institution, specializing in cancer. There, Dr. Fontaine worked under Dr. David Sugarbaker, a leading thoracic surgeon specializing in treating mesothelioma patients.

One of Dr. Fontaine’s early work experiences was truly unique. After completing his Harvard fellowship, he returned to Canada and worked as a general surgeon in the small town of Burin, Newfoundland. In this isolated fishing town, Dr. Fontaine worked at the local hospital with limited resources. It proved to be a valuable educational experience, teaching him to think on his feet, with no other surgeons to consult with on the staff, and to be able to improvise and make difficult choices.

An Interest in the Challenge of Mesothelioma

After his time spent working in Newfoundland, Dr. Fontaine returned to New England and accepted a position at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. He had already developed an interest in mesothelioma, which began back at medical school at McGill. He recalled a surgeon telling him that there was nothing they could do for a pleural mesothelioma patient. This was in the 1990s, and although attitudes toward treating mesothelioma have changed, the pessimistic message stuck with Dr. Fontaine.

His interest in mesothelioma intensified under the tutelage of Dr. Sugarbaker at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr. Sugarbaker had been a big part of forming the International Mesothelioma Program and Dr. Fontaine took an interest in the challenge of treating the aggressive and rare cancer. By the time Dr. Fontaine arrived at Brown University, where he worked to develop a teaching program for thoracic surgery at the teaching hospital, his interest in mesothelioma as a career path had been cemented. In 2012 he spoke at a medical conference in Algeria about the latest advances in treating mesothelioma, with the hope of bringing better knowledge about treatments to other parts of the world, including those in which rates of the cancer are rising.

Work at Moffitt Cancer Center

Dr. Fontaine has been at the Moffitt Cancer Center since 2011 where he serves as a member of the Thoracic and Gastrointestinal Oncology Departments. He brings his extensive training and experience to Moffitt, including training and an expertise in performing minimally invasive surgeries and robotic surgeries. In addition to his interest and experience with mesothelioma, Dr. Fontaine also specializes in treating lung cancer, esophageal cancer, and thymoma.

At Moffitt in Tampa, Dr. Fontaine is part of a team that leads the way in mesothelioma treatment. They focus on a multidisciplinary approach that combines a variety of experts in radiation therapy, chemotherapy and surgery. The department, and Fontaine, also focuses on clinical research and learning from the most cutting edge strategies for treating mesothelioma, including vaccines and immunotherapy.

Dr. Fontaine is currently a practicing thoracic and GI oncology surgeon, the director of the Mesothelioma Research and Treatment Center, and the program director for a robotic surgery fellowship program that teaches and trains thoracic surgery graduates. He is certified by the American Board of Thoracic Surgery and the American Board of Surgery. He is a Fellow in the American College of Surgeons and the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada. Dr. Fontaine has also written a Thoracic Surgery Handbook that guides treatment at Moffitt.

Along with his expert team at Moffitt, Dr. Fontaine is a dedicated and experienced specialist in cancer and in mesothelioma treatment and research. Patients in Florida are fortunate to be able to get expert treatment and to not have to travel far for it.

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