Who Are the Top Mesothelioma Doctors?
Mesothelioma doctors are medical oncologists, thoracic surgeons, gastrointestinal surgeons, oncology surgeons, and radiation oncologists. They have experience treating patients with mesothelioma. They work within a multidisciplinary team of experts to give their patients the best options.
Many mesothelioma experts get involved with research and have been instrumental in developing better diagnostic techniques, surgical procedures, and treatment protocols. Many also lead clinical trials. These physicians are some of the best in the country for treating mesothelioma.
Luis Argote-Greene, M.D.
University Hospitals – Cleveland, Ohio
Dr. Argote-Greene is a thoracic and esophageal surgeon and clinical assistant professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, where he helps train new surgeons. He joined University Hospitals, Cleveland to help build its thoracic surgery program, now recognized as a regional center for mesothelioma treatment. Dr. Argote-Greene is a pioneer in video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery and became an expert in mesothelioma working under the legendary Dr. David Sugarbaker.
David Bartlett, M.D.
Allegheny Health Network Cancer Institute – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Dr. Bartlett is an expert surgical oncologist who specializes in managing complex and advanced abdominal diseases, abdominal sarcomas, gastric cancer, and liver and bile duct cancer. He serves as vice-chairman of the David C. Koch Regional Perfusion Cancer Therapy Center as well as vice-chairman of surgical oncology and gastrointestinal services at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. He is also the director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute’s Multidisciplinary Disease Site Clinical and Research Programs.
Shanel Bhagwandin D.O.
Jupiter Medical Center – Jupiter, Florida
Dr. Shanel Bhagwandin is a surgical oncologist and doctor of osteopathic medicine specializing in difficult and recurrent types of abdominal cancer, including peritoneal mesothelioma. He trained in surgical oncology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York and is one of only a handful of doctors that are board-certified in complex general surgical oncology. Currently working as the director of the Gastrointestinal Surgical Oncology Program at Jupiter Medical Center in South Florida, Dr. Bhagwandin has expanded the department and introduced the innovative new treatment known as HIPEC to patients in the region.
Andrew M. Blakely, M.D.
National Cancer Institute – Bethesda, Maryland
Dr. Blakely is a surgical oncologist and specializes in peritoneal surface malignancies. His expertise includes the treatment of peritoneal mesothelioma and cancers that have spread to the peritoneal tissue from other areas. Dr. Blakely currently holds the position of Senior Investigator at the National Cancer Institute, where his research focuses on improving treatments for these difficult cancers. His past research earned Dr. Blakely a patent and grant for a tissue engineering application.
Raphael Bueno, M.D.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital – Boston, Massachusetts
Dr. Raphael Bueno is a leader in mesothelioma research and patient care. As a director of the International Mesothelioma Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, he is leading cutting-edge research and treatment for this rare cancer. He worked alongside Dr. David Sugarbaker, the previous director, for ten years and learned from this world-renowned expert in mesothelioma care. Dr. Bueno’s research interests focus on better diagnostic techniques for mesothelioma, surgical procedures for cancer, and the use of chemotherapy drugs along with surgical treatment.
Robert B. Cameron, M.D.
UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center – Los Angeles, California
Dr. Cameron is a surgeon at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and West Los Angeles Veterans Administration Medical Center. He heads the Comprehensive Mesothelioma Program at UCLA and serves as an advisor to the Pacific Mesothelioma Center. Dr. Cameron has helped to pioneer lung-sparing surgeries for mesothelioma patients, helping them avoid more radical, dangerous procedures while still enjoying a longer life with a better quality of life and fewer risks and complications.
John Chabot, M.D.
Columbia University Medical Center – New York, New York
Dr. John A. Chabot has achieved expertise in the surgical treatment of both abdominal mesothelioma and pancreatic cancer with almost thirty years of medical experience. He is the head of the Division of Gastrointestinal and Endocrine Surgery at the New York Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan as well as the executive director of the Pancreas Center there. Dr. Chabot is not only a practitioner but a teacher, as he serves as the David V. Habif Professor of Clinical Surgery at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University.
W. Charles Conway II, M.D.
Ridley-Tree Cancer Center – Santa Barbara, California
Dr. Conway received his medical degree from Wayne State University. Having received his internship and residency at Wayne State University, he also went overseas to Ghana to complete international studies. Dr. Conway is board certified in general surgery. His clinical interests include peritoneal malignant mesothelioma, esophageal cancer, pancreatic cancer, gastric cancer, GI oncologic surgery, gallbladder cancer, metastatic disease to the liver, carcinoid tumors, abdominal sarcoma, and liver surgery.
Marcelo DaSilva, M.D.
AdventHealth Cancer Institute – Orlando, Florida
Dr. Marcelo DaSilva is board-certified as a critical-care, cardiovascular, and thoracic surgeon and serves as the Medical Director of Thoracic Surgery at Advent Health Orlando. Previously, he worked as a thoracic surgeon at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and as a surgery instructor at Harvard Medical School. He also did work as a consultant for Boston’s Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
Dr. DaSilva serves as the program director of the International Midwest Mesothelioma Program as well as being the president-elect of the Thoracic Surgery Society of Illinois. He is the co-director of the Cardinal Bernadine Cancer Center’s Lung Cancer Center and is both a thoracic-cardiovascular surgeon and general surgeon with the Stritch School of Medicine at Chicago’s Loyola University Medical Center.
Sophie Dessureau, M.D.
Moffitt Cancer Center – Tampa, Florida
Dr. Dessureau is a professor of surgical oncology at the University of South Florida and a gastrointestinal surgical oncologist at the Moffitt Cancer Center. Devoted to both patient care and student training, Dr. Dessureau spends her time treating patients and educating fellows and residents. She specializes in rare anal and colorectal cancers as well as cancers of the peritoneum, including peritoneal mesothelioma. She is one of few surgeons who performs HIPEC, an innovative and effective treatment for combining surgery and chemotherapy to treat peritoneal mesothelioma.
Raja Flores, M.D.
Mount Sinai Medical Center – New York, New York
Dr. Flores is noted as a leader and pioneer in the treatment of malignant mesothelioma and currently serves as the Chief of the Division of Thoracic Surgery as well as the Ames Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Mount Sinai Medical Center. He utilizes a minimally-invasive surgical technique (VATS lobectomy) to effectively treat patients with lung cancer.
Jacques P. Fontaine, M.D.
Moffitt Cancer Center – Tampa, Florida
Dr. Jacques Fontaine is a surgeon and Montreal native of Lebanese descent, board-certified by both the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Thoracic Surgery. As well as being the lead thoracic surgeon at the Moffitt Cancer Center’s Mesothelioma Research and Treatment Center, he also teaches at the University of South Florida as an associate professor of surgery. Dr. Fontaine is also a Fellow at both the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada and the American College of Surgeons.
Dr. Fontaine’s clinical interests include lung cancers, mesothelioma, esophageal cancers, and thymoma. As an experienced thoracic surgeon, he is an expert in utilizing minimally invasive technologies to treat various chest-related malignancies. He believes strongly in a multidisciplinary approach to treatment and research and continues to actively contribute to clinical research endeavors.
Joseph Friedberg, M.D.
University of Maryland Medical Center – Baltimore, Maryland
Dr. Friedberg received his undergraduate education at the University of Pennsylvania and completed his medical degree at Harvard Medical School. He obtained his training in general surgery from Massachusetts General Hospital and is a board-certified general surgeon and thoracic surgeon, having attained his specialization at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Friedberg currently serves as the Charles Reid Edwards, MD Professor in Surgery and division head at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
Raffit Hassan, M.D.
National Cancer Institite – Bethesda, Maryland
As a senior investigator and medical oncologist at the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Hassan has developed new therapies for treating mesothelioma. He currently conducts clinical trials for two new immunotherapies targeting mesothelin, a tumor agent involved in mesothelioma development. He serves as chair of the Science Advisory Board at the Meso Foundation and received Career Development Awards from both the National Institutes of Health and the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
David M. Jablons, M.D.
UCSF Medical Center – San Francisco, California
Dr. Jablons studied medicine at the Albany Medical College of Union University New York, having won a preceptorship studying under Dr. Steven Rosenberg at the National Cancer Institute in his fourth year of study there. His training with Dr. Rosenberg sparked a deep interest in translational science, and Dr. Jablons currently serves as the Chief of General Thoracic Surgery, Director of the Thoracic Oncology Lab, and program leader of Thoracic Oncology at UCSF as well as being the Nan T. McEvoy Distinguished Professor of Thoracic Surgical Oncology.
Hedy Lee Kindler, M.D.
Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine – Chicago, Illinois
Dr. Kindler’s medical specialty is in treating several forms of cancer, such as gastrointestinal stromal tumors, pancreatic cancer, and mesothelioma. She is also actively involved in research endeavors that focus on investigating new agents for treating these cancer types, and designing and leading various clinical trials for patients who suffer from these illnesses.
Lee Krug, M.D.
Private Research, AstraZeneca – New York, New York
Dr. Krug is a medical oncologist and researcher for AstraZeneca. He recently left the position of director of the Mesothelioma Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to focus on research. His leadership in research and patient treatment is making real strides in helping patients live longer and more comfortably. Dr. Klug’s clinical and research interests and specialties are the multimodal treatment of mesothelioma and thoracic cancers, vaccine treatments, and leading clinical trials of novel treatment strategies.
Rodney Landreneau, M.D.
Penn Highlands Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery – DuBois, Pennsylvania
Rodney J. Landreneau, MD is a board-certified cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon. Dr. Landreneau completed residencies in both general surgery and thoracic surgery, at the University of Texas-Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, respectively.
Dr. Landreneau is noted for his years of experience in managing pleural mesothelioma and surgically treating disorders like myasthenia gravis and other mediastinal illnesses. His clinical expertise includes minimally-invasive and video-assisted surgery, treatment and surgery of lung cancer patients, esophageal cancer patients, as well as treatment of non-malignant esophageal disorders such as gastric reflux, among others.
Abraham Lebenthal, M.D.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital – Boston, Massachusetts
Dr. Lebenthal is an expert in mesothelioma surgery, having trained under Dr. David Sugarbaker in general thoracic surgery at the Brigham and Women’s hospital. He is himself a veteran and currently works at the Harvard and Boston University-affiliated West Roxbury VA hospital, where he is pleased to give back to a community that has given so much for its country.
Brian Loggie, M.D.
Creighton University Medical Center – Omaha, Nebraska
Dr. Loggie is a physician and researcher most noted for his work in pioneering a treatment for malignant mesothelioma called heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy in the 1990s. The treatment–which is now growing to be more widely used than ever before due to its effectiveness in eradicating many types of cancers–involves a combination of hyperthermic chemotherapy medications and surgical procedures.
Harvey Pass, M.D.
NYU Cardiothoracic Surgery Associates – New York, New York
Dr. Pass is the chief of thoracic surgery at NYU’s Langone Medical Center where he was instrumental in creating a fellowship in thoracic surgery. Also a researcher focused on mesothelioma, he leads the Early Detection Research Network Biomarker Discovery Laboratory for Mesothelioma and the Mesothelioma Pathogenesis Program Project, funded by the National Cancer Institute. In his research, Dr. Pass has helped to develop the use of photodynamic therapy, an innovative cancer treatment that uses light-sensitive drugs to target tumors.
James F. Pingpank Jr., MD, FACS
UPMC Hillman Cancer Center – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Dr. Pingpank is a surgical oncologist specializing in cancers of the gastrointestinal tract and peritoneum. He is an associate professor and surgeon at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. Among his areas of specialty, research, and treatment expertise is the care of patients with peritoneal mesothelioma. He has contributed to the development of HIPEC, one of the most successful treatment strategies for peritoneal mesothelioma. He is one of few specialists offering this kind of treatment, which includes surgery and direct chemotherapy.
David Rice, M.B. B.Ch.
MD Anderson Cancer Center – Houston, Texas
Dr. Rice received his medical degree at the School of Medicine, Trinity College, the University of Dublin. Then he completed his internship at St. James Hospital, Dublin, Ireland in 1992. Dr. Rice joined the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center where he is a Professor of Surgery. His clinical interests include: thoracic malignancies, thoracic surgery, and video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery in thoracic malignancies.
R. Taylor Ripley M.D.
Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center – Houston, Texas
Dr. R. Taylor Ripley is a thoracic oncology surgeon at Baylor College of Medicine’s Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery, Division of General Thoracic Surgery in Texas. He works out of the Baylor Clinic and the Baylor St. Luke Medical Center. He is also the leader of the Lung Institute’s Mesothelioma Treatment Center. Dr. Ripley is a board-certified thoracic surgeon who specializes in robotic surgery and mesothelioma. He works at Baylor as part of a multi-disciplinary team helping improve surgical treatments for mesothelioma patients.
Valerie Rusch, M.D.
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center – New York, New York
Dr. Rusch is a board-certified expert in thoracic surgery – one of the first women in the country to become such – with more than twenty-five years of experience in this arena. She specializes in diagnosing and treating patients with tracheal, bronchial, esophageal, pleural and lung cancer, as well as those with cancers of the chest wall and mediastinum.
Matthew Steliga M.D.
Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute – Little Rock, Arkansas
Dr. Matthew Steliga is a thoracic surgeon specializing in cancer and mesothelioma. He is an instructor and surgeon at the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, Arkansas. He trained and taught at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, a leading facility for the management of mesothelioma. Dr. Steliga specializes in minimally invasive surgeries and is known for providing his patients with multiple treatment options and compassionate care.
Daniel Sterman, M.D.
NYU Langone Medical Center – New York, New York
Dr. Sterman is a physician specializing in critical care and pulmonology. He currently serves in several positions at New York University’s Langone Medical Center and Perlmutter Cancer Center. His positions allow him to work directly with patients, to be an educator, and to lead and direct research. His research into cancers, including gene therapy to treat mesothelioma, has gained him international recognition and the admiration and respect of both peers and patients.
Paul Sugarbaker, M.D.
MedStar Washington Hospital Center – Washington, D.C.
Dr. Sugarbaker’s renown comes from his years of service as a clinical investigator, lecturer, and mentor as well as a colorectal cancer surgeon and gastrointestinal oncologist. He is also an expert in rare disorders such as peritoneal carcinomatosis, peritoneal mesothelioma, abdominal sarcomas, and pseudomyxoma peritonei. He has spearheaded the development and use of specialized treatments such as cytoreductive surgery using heated intraoperative intraperitoneal chemotherapy and hyperthermia techniques utilizing the Thermotron RF-8. He is also widely published, with over 780 academic journal articles, textbook chapters, and textbooks including a text about sarcoma surgery which has been published in five different languages.
Tawee Tanvetyanon, M.D.
Moffitt Cancer Center – Tampa, Florida
Dr. Tanvetyanon practices medical oncology, specializing in chemotherapy for all types of malignant mesothelioma (pleural, peritoneal, and pericardial). He is a proponent of hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy and utilizes many novel treatment methods via his work in clinical trials. He is an Associate Professor of Oncologic Sciences at the Moffitt Cancer Center at Tampa’s University of South Florida and is widely published with various academic articles penned on patient survival and treatment outcomes.
Anne Tsao, M.D.
MD Anderson Cancer Center – Houston, Texas
Dr. Tsao works as an associate professor in the MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas in the Department of Thoracic and Head & Neck Medical Oncology. Her expertise is in treating patients who have both thoracic cancers and cancers of the head and neck. As a clinician and scientist, she is involved in clinical research as well as translational lab research with a focus aimed at the identification of novel therapies and the development of new strategies for treating malignant mesothelioma and aerodigestive cancers.
Kiran Turaga, M.D.
Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine – Chicago, Illinois
Dr. Turaga is a professor of surgical oncology at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. He is also the Vice Chief for the Section of General Surgery and Surgical Oncology. Dr. Turaga’s areas of expertise are focused on advanced and metastatic gastrointestinal cancers, including peritoneal mesothelioma. He is a leading expert on the use of HIPEC, the innovative treatment that has helped many patients with this type of mesothelioma live longer or even go into remission. In addition to patient care, Dr. Turaga is dedicated to research and has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles.
Eric Vallieres, M.D.
Swedish Thoracic Surgery – Seattle, Washington
Dr. Vallieres studied medicine at Quebec’s Université Laval and was a resident at the University of Toronto. He later completed a fellowship in Bordeaux, France under the tutelage of Professor Louis Couraud. Dr. Vallieres currently serves as surgical director of the Lung Cancer Program at Seattle’s Swedish Medical Center, focusing his research on surgical treatment of lung cancer and induction chemotherapy. He specializes in malignant mesothelioma, chest wall tumors, hyperhidrosis, bronchoscopy, and esophageal achalasia.
Elliot Wakeam, M.D.
Michigan Medicine – Ann Arbor, Michigan
Dr. Wakeam is a thoracic surgeon and assistant professor at the University of Michigan. He trains surgeons and works with patients in the Michigan Medicine Thoracic Surgery Clinic, Taubman Center, and Michigan Medical Procedures Unit. He is a specialist in minimally invasive thoracic surgery with a focus on oncology and lung transplants. Dr. Wakeam is a part of the University of Michigan Lung Transplant Program. His research has focused on lung transplants and the treatment of thoracic cancers, including pleural mesothelioma. Dr. Wakeam has been instrumental in bringing the SMART protocol for mesothelioma treatment to patients in Michigan.
Where Is the Best Place to Get Mesothelioma Treatment?
The physicians listed above and many others provide treatment at some of the nation’s leading cancer and mesothelioma treatment centers. These include:
Brigham & Women’s Hospital
Brigham & Women’s Hospital’s International Mesothelioma Program (IMP) is one of the leading treatment centers in the world. Its focus on multi-modality treatment, which uses a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, has been highly successful.
Pacific Mesothelioma Center
The Pacific Mesothelioma Center is at the forefront for pleurectomy/decortication surgery. This lung-sparing treatment is just one of the cutting-edge protocols used at the Pacific Meso Center. The Pacific Meso Center is located in Los Angeles and is a part of the Pacific Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
Located in Houston, Texas, M.D. Anderson’s Mesothelioma Program has earned respect for its innovative radiation therapy center as well as its state-of-the-art research programs.
Mount Sinai Hospital
Mount Sinai first made a name for itself in the field of asbestos-related diseases by helping create OSHA guidelines for asbestos in the workplace. The hospital is one of the country’s oldest and most respected medical institutions. It boasts a staff of dedicated specialists who are recognized as leaders in the field of thoracic surgery, surgical oncology, and multi-modality therapies.
These are just a few of the top cancer treatment centers in the U.S. You can find other excellent facilities, including those with mesothelioma experts on staff.
Why Is it Important to Find a Mesothelioma Specialist?
You need a mesothelioma specialist because this is a rare cancer that most doctors have never treated. This includes oncologists and other cancer specialists. You will benefit in several ways by taking the time to find the right specialist:
- Mesothelioma is very difficult to diagnose. Specialists know what to look for because they have seen it in other patients.
- Mesotheliomia specialists work in teams, so you benefit from multiple perspectives and areas of expertise.
- Most specialists work in world-class cancer treatment facilities.
- These facilities have better treatment options than others, including the most advanced equipment, surgical procedures, and emerging treatments.
- You will get the best treatment plan possible because these specialists are more familiar with mesothelioma than other doctors.
Can a Specialist Cure Mesothelioma?
There is currently no cure for mesothelioma, no matter who treats you. Some patients may achieve remission, which is most likely in the early stages of the cancer and with aggressive treatment. For this reason, it’s important to find and work with a specialist right away, as soon as you have troubling symptoms.
While a specialist cannot guarantee remission, they do give you the best possible chance. By working in teams and providing the most innovative treatments, mesothelioma specialists give you a better prognosis and likely a longer life expectancy.
How Do I Find a Mesothelioma Doctor Near Me?
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, the most important decisions you will make will be where to seek treatment and who your doctor will be. Not only does your decision need to be based on the doctor’s expertise, but also on your level of comfort with them and their entire treatment team.
Talk to the oncologists and other doctors who worked on your diagnosis. They can recommend specialists in your area. Keep in mind that there are not many mesothelioma doctors, so travel may be necessary for the best care.
If you’re not satisfied with recommendations, contact the top cancer treatment centers in your area to request a specialist. Getting treatment from a top mesothelioma doctor as soon as possible is crucial to your outcome.
What Is Most Important in Choosing a Mesothelioma Doctor?
The most important factors are experience treating mesothelioma followed by convenience for you: location, availability, and pricing and acceptance of your insurance.
Beyond these essentials, choose a physician who makes you feel comfortable and confident in their abilities. They should be respectful of your needs and preferences. They should communicate with you regularly, explain your treatment options, and answer all your questions.
Is it OK to See More Than One Mesothelioma Doctor?
You have every right as a patient to consult with as many doctors as you want and can afford. Second opinions are important in medicine. Doctors make mistakes sometimes.
If you feel more comfortable getting a second opinion, you should. Your current doctor should be willing to allow this and even recommend a colleague.
What Should I Expect When Working with a Mesothelioma Doctor?
Be prepared for your first appointment with a mesothelioma specialist to help them help you the best that they can:
- Bring all of your medical records related to your current symptoms and diagnosis.
- If you have already gone through diagnostic procedures, request hard copies of those to bring.
- Provide information about your past exposure to asbstos, including work history.
- Make a list of all your symptoms, when you first experienced them, and how they have progressed.
- Have a list of all medications you take and any treatment you have receved so far.
- Be prepared with all the questions you have for the specialist.
It’s a good idea to bring a loved one along, at least to your first appointment. Bring someone you are close to and trust to help you record information, remind you of questions, and advocate for you.
The specialist will look over all of your diagnostic results and ask you a lot of questions. They may want to do a physical exam or order additional tests and imaging scans.
Once you have a firm diagnosis, the specialist will talk about treatment options. They will explain your choices and help you understand the benefits and risks. They should also give you plenty of time to ask questions.
Working with a mesothelioma doctor is essential for your outcome. Don’t settle for a doctor with little or no experience with this rare disease.
Page Medically Reviewed and Edited byLuis Argote-Greene, M.D.
Luis Argote-Greene is an internationally recognized thoracic surgeon. He has trained and worked with some of the most prominently known thoracic surgeons in the United States and Mexico, including pioneering mesothelioma surgeon Dr. David Sugarbaker. He is professionally affiliated with University Hospitals (UH). His areas of interest and expertise are mesothelioma, mediastinal tumors, thoracic malignancies, lung cancer, lung transplantation, esophageal cancer, experimental surgery, and lung volume reduction. Dr. Argote-Greene has also done pioneering work with video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS), as well as robotic assisted minimally invasive surgery. He has taught the procedures to other surgeons both nationally and internationally.