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Your message to us will be held in strict confidence. All requests for information by mesothelioma patients and their family members will be answered within 24 hours. Mesothelioma Treatment and Care Guides are sent to mesothelioma patients and families by overnight delivery.


farhood farjahDr. Farhood Farjah is a thoracic surgeon and researcher. He holds an appointment as an Assistant Professor of Surgery at the University of Washington. Dr. Farhood Farjah obtained his medical degree at Oregon Health and Science University and trained at the University of Washington in general surgery. He did his residency at University at Washington Medical Center and his fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York in cardiothoracic surgery. Dr. Farjah’s postdoctoral research fellowship was funded by the National Institute of Health and National Cancer Institute. Dr. Farjah also has a master’s degree in epidemiology and is the Associate Medical Director of the Surgical Outcomes Research Center. (SORCE).

As a young man, he had always been interested in helping and working directly with people, service and science. Dr Farjah is committed to understanding patients’ goals and helping them achieve them. He plans to use his training, experience and network of colleagues to help patients achieve their goals.

He is involved with research that studies how doctors deliver care to lung cancer and mesothelioma patients in the United States. His goal is that all patients have the best possible outcome. Another of his goals during his research is to increase the quality and value of thoracic oncology patients experiences.

Dr. Farjah has a special interest in occupational related illnesses, including mesothelioma and lung cancer. In addition to treating mesothelioma and lung cancer patients, Dr. Farjah has lectured on the treatment of mesothelioma, including a recent continuing medical education course on “Multi-Modality Treatment of Pleural Mesothelioma.” Dr. Farjah has also taught at the American College of Surgeons. The mesothelioma community is fortunate to have Dr. Farjah to help in the fight against mesothelioma and to help patients, especially those in the Pacific Northwest.

Mesothelioma Specialist Spotlight: Dr. David L. Bartlett

dr. david bartlett mesotheliomaThis month we are featuring an expert in peritoneal mesothelioma from the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. David L. Bartlett, is the Vice Chairman for the Surgical Oncology and Gastrointestinal Services, Director of the David C. Koch Regional Perfusion Cancer Therapy Center at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. In addition to being the Director of the Multidisciplinary Disease Site Clinical and Research Programs for the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, Dr. Bartlett is also the Bernard Fisher Professor of Surgery University of Pittsburg School of Medicine.

Dr. Bartlett received his undergraduate degree at Rice University in Houston.  He received his medical degree from the University of Texas.  He completed a residency in general surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, and a fellowship in surgical oncology at Sloan- Kettering Cancer Center in New York.  He is board- certified in general surgery.  An expert in cancers of the abdominal cavity,  he has helped to pioneer the delivery of chemotherapy directly to the peritoneal cavity.  His research includes new treatments for abdominal carcinomas.  He is the principal investigator in the Clinical Trial aDC1 Vaccine +Chemokine Modulatory Regimen (CKM) as Adjuvant Treatment of Peritoneal Surface Malignancies.

Dr. Bartlett has been at the forefront of research for peritoneal mesothelioma. Mesothelioma presents in two different areas of the body for most people.  Mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining of the tissue surrounding the lung and abdominal cavity.  Pleural mesothelioma is when the disease appears along the lining of the lung, peritoneal mesothelioma is when the disease is around the lining of the abdomen.  In the U.S., there are approximately 500 – 600 patients diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma per year.

As an expert in peritoneal mesothelioma, he has combined new therapies to help with patients who have often been told there are no options. He was one of the pioneers of the development of regional chemotherapy administered to the peritoneal cavity.  This procedure called HIPEC is Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemoperfusion. Dr. Bartlett also is focused on gene therapy and the possibilities of combing therapies for a longer survival and improved quality of life for his patients.

He   leads a multidisciplinary team whose goals are to improve the lives and survival of patients with abdominal malignancies.

Dr. Bartlett is a member of many prestigious organizations including the American Medical Association, American Society of Gene Therapy and the American Association for Cancer Research. He has published extensively.

The entire mesothelioma community is grateful to have a doctor of Dr. Bartlett’s stature advocating for mesothelioma patients.

Please contact us if you have any questions.

Mesothelioma Specialist Spotlight: Dr. Raja Flores

director-raja-flores-mdDr. Raja Flores is the Chairman of the Department of Thoracic Surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. He is also the Steven and Ann Ames professor in Thoracic surgery at the Mount Sinai Medical Center. Dr. Flores specializes in the treatment and research for mesothelioma. He has published extensively on mesothelioma and other thoracic conditions. Dr. Flores is the Principal Investigator of the Libby Epidemiology Research Program, a 4.8 million R01 grant funded by the Agency of Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. The major goal of this research project is to focus on questions regarding the consequences of one’s health in regard to asbestos exposure.

Dr. Flores earned his undergraduate degree in biochemistry from New York University. He attended the Albert Einstein College of Medicine receiving his medical degree in 1992. Dr. Flores then spent the next 5 years completing his general surgery internship and residency at Columbia –Presbyterian Medical Center. He completed his Thoracic Oncology Clinical Research Fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston along with his Cardiothoracic Surgery Residency. He also has earned a masters degree in biostatics from Columbia University.

Dr. Flores is a native New Yorker, raised in the meat packing district by his mother. He saw drugs and violence growing up but he continues to follow the path of education which led him to become a world renown surgeon, who also speaks Spanish and Arabic. Dr. Flores can relate to the patients who have mesothelioma mostly being blue collar workers. His previous job experiences included working as a doorman, working in a deli and loading packages on UPS trucks. He has seen the challenge of mesothelioma and how it devastates patients and families lives regardless of their socioeconomic status.

One of Dr. Flores interests in his extensive published research has been comparing extra-pleural-pneumonectomy, removing the lung in addition to the lining, and pleurectomy/decortication, which is removing only the lining and preserving the lung.

Dr. Flores has been a tireless advocate for the mesothelioma community for the past 20 years. One of the most frequent comments from his patients is that he listens. Dr. Flores is a very personable, experienced clinician, who also is a world-renowned expert in mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma Specialist Spotlight: Dr. Valerie Rusch, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer

dr. valerie ruschValerie Rusch is one of the first women to become board certified as a thoracic surgeon. Dr. Rusch currently has many positions which include vice chair of clinical research within the department of surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer. She is also chair for the Miner Family Chair in Intrathoracic Cancers. Dr. Rusch also is professor of surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College. As a thoracic surgeon she specializes in the treatment of mesothelioma as well as other cancers of the lung, airway, esophagus, and mediastinum. Dr. Rusch obtained her medical degree at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Her residency was done at the University of Washington Affiliated Hospitals. Her fellowship was done at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Dr. Rusch has had many accomplishments throughout her career. She serves as the chair of the American Board of Thoracic Surgery, a regent member of the Board of Directors of the American College of Surgeons. She also is the chair of the Lung and Esophagus Task Force of the American Joint Commission on Cancer. Dr. Rusch also sits as chair of the mesothelioma subcommittee of IASLC (International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer) Staging Committee. She has also written many chapters on mesothelioma and lung cancers.

Dr. Rusch has been a prominent leader in the clinical trial field for treatment of mesothelioma. In 2007 she received the Thoracic Surgery Foundation for Research and Education Socrates Award. Dr. Rusch has also been a recipient of The Nina Starr Braunwald Award. This award is for the lifetime contributions to the advancement of women in surgery. Dr. Valerie Rusch has also held 25 visiting professorships and has had over 300 speaking engagements at medical conferences. Her accomplishments are numerous and well deserved. A few other accomplishments would be chair of the American Board of Thoracic surgery, chair of the Lung and Esophagus Task Force of the American Joint Commission on Cancer and is currently the chair of the Mesothelioma subcommittee of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer Staging Committee.

Mesothelioma Specialist Spotlight – Dr. Anne S. Tsao

Tsao, AnneDr. Anne Tsao is an accomplished medical oncologist and research scientist. She is the director of the Mesothelioma Program at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston Texas. She is an Associate Professor, Department of Thoracic/ Head and Neck Medical Oncology, at MD Anderson and also the Director of Thoracic Chemo- Radiation Program at MD Anderson. Dr. Tsao also holds many other positions such as co-chair of the Clinical Research Committee at MD Anderson. As an accomplished clinical scientist Dr. Tsao has been an Associate Editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, Watch Oncology and Hematology section since June 2013. She also serves on the SWOG Mesothelioma Steering Committee, SWOG Lung Executive Committee, and the Scientific Board of the American Radium Society.

Dr. Tsao attended medical school at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. She completed her residency at Indiana University in Indianapolis. Her training continued as she completed a second residency at University of Texas and completed her Fellowship there. Dr. Tsao has specialized in thoracic, head and neck cancers. She has been a recipient of many awards. She has received the Asco award (American Society of Clinical Oncology) merit award and has also been the recipient of the MD Anderson Achievement in Research Award along with many others.

Dr. Tsao is the principal investigator to many clinical trials for Mesothelioma. Dr. Tsao has a personal message to patients who have been diagnosed with Mesothelioma which is, “there is hope and patients with mesothelioma can certainly exceed the median survival.” She encourages patients to go to a medical center that specializes in this disease. Often times patients remark that at home they were offered no hope. Dr. Tsao reassures them that this is not the reality. One of her many concentrations in fighting Mesothelioma is proton beam therapy used in addition to chemotherapy. Dr. Tsao spends much of her time researching new and better ways to treat Mesothelioma. Dr. Tsao is focusing on individualizing cancer therapy through understanding of the molecular basis of cancer.

Dr. Tsao is an energetic, personable, accomplished researcher in her chosen fields. She is an advocate for collaboration in research.   The mesothelioma community is fortunate to have Dr. Tsao as a valued member of this community as she continues to work tirelessly for a cure.

Mesothelioma Specialist Spotlight – Dr. Robert Cameron

Dr. Robert Cameron MesotheliomaDr. Robert Cameron is the Director and founder of the Comprehensive Mesothelioma Center at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. He is also the scientific advisor for the Pacific Heart Lung and Blood Institute as well as serving as a senior professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California. He also serves as the chief of thoracic surgery at the West Los Angeles Veterans Administration Medical Center. He continues to hold the title of Professor of Surgery UCLA since 2008.

Dr. Cameron received his undergraduate degree with distinction from Stanford University, attended the University of Michigan and UCLA, where he received his medical degree. He completed his surgical internship and residency at the University of California. Following that he completed a Fellowship in oncology at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda Maryland. He then headed to New York and a Fellowship in Thoracic Surgery at New York Hospital- Cornell University Medical Center. Dr. Cameron is board certified in both surgery and thoracic and cardiothoracic surgery.

He is the co-founder and former director of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, the only non-profit dedicated to finding funding for research towards a cure for mesothelioma. Dr. Cameron has been treating patients with mesothelioma for over 20 + years. He is passionate about the importance of research in treating and hopefully curing mesothelioma patients. He has delivered many lectures and has authored many articles on the care and treatment of mesothelioma. Dr. Cameron is a passionate and vocal voice in the mesothelioma community about the importance of lung sparing surgery and what the best treatment options are for mesothelioma. Dr. Cameron prides himself in teaching patients that he can help control the disease and some of its symptoms but unfortunately there is not yet a cure for mesothelioma. He has been a leader in the movement to treat mesothelioma as a chronic disease with an emphasis on quality of life for patients and families. In accomplishing this goal, he has become a leader in cryoablation therapy and cutting edge robotic surgery. Dr. Cameron has started and hosted a yearly conference about the benefits of lung sparing surgery for mesothelioma patients. This year’s conference will be held September 24, 2016 in Los Angeles, CA.

Dr. Cameron’s passion for treating patients with cancer is personal in nature. He has watched many people in his family die from cancer at too early an age. The mesothelioma community is fortunate to have a talented, dedicated, fearless advocate for mesothelioma patients in Dr. Cameron!

If you have any questions or need help, let us know.

Mesothelioma Specialist Spotlight – Dr. David Sugarbaker

Dr. David Sugarbaker

Dr David J SugarbakerDr. David Sugarbaker is a world renowned expert in thoracic surgery, including malignant pleural mesothelioma. Currently he is the Professor and Chief, Division of General Thoracic Surgery Baylor College of Medicine. He is also the Director of the Lung Institute at Baylor College of Medicine, along with the Olga Keith Wiess Chairman in Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine.

Dr. David Sugarbaker graduated from Cornell University in New York where he obtained his medical degree. He did his general surgical residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He did his cardiothoracic residency at University of Toronto. From there he came back to Boston in 1988. Dr. Sugarbaker has focused his career on the treatment of thoracic malignancies. He is the former head of the thoracic division at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Boston, MA. In 2002 he founded the International Mesothelioma Program at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He is well known internationally and recognized as a pioneer in the treatment of mesothelioma. Dr. Sugarbaker has published many articles in the treatment of mesothelioma and has received many awards including, The Pioneer Award and The Chadwick Medal.  The Chadwick Medal is given by the Massachusetts Pulmonary Section of the American Lung Association of the Northeast’s Medical and Scientific Branch. This medal is awarded to a doctor or individual who is outstanding in the field of pulmonary diseases. The Pioneer Award is given by the National Institute of Health. This award supports individuals who have demonstrated new ideas and approaches to major barriers in biomedical and behavioral research. These are just a few of the awards that he has received over the years.

When talking with Dr. Sugarbaker the one thing that you take away is his energy and passion for helping mesothelioma patients and their families. His new program at Baylor Medical Center in Houston will celebrate its second anniversary in July. To date he has seen well over 200 patients who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma. While much has changed in the mesothelioma world, the fundamentals still remain. He believes that when one is diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is in the best interest of both the patient and family to find a specialist they trust.

The Baylor Mesothelioma Treatment Center’s support group is equipped with social workers, navigators, chaplains, and nutritionists. He also has a team of doctors including surgeons, medical oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, and intensivists who round out the mesothelioma treatment center.

Dr. Sugarbaker’s tenacity and passion for mesothelioma is palpable when he speaks. One of his favorite messages to spread is that “when hope is part of the equation anything is possible.”

His research is well supported and he believes that they are incorporating all of their latest findings into the patient’s treatment plans as soon as possible. He has an extensive support group for patient’s caregivers and family members due to the fact that he believes this is a family disease and everyone needs to be supported during this endeavor.

Dr. David Sugarbaker has been a mentor to many physicians over the decades. He has influenced, mentored and worked with some of the leading doctors and researchers at mesothelioma centers throughout the world.

The mesothelioma community has been and continues to be fortunate that Dr. Sugarbaker continues on the quest for a cure for this aggressive disease. His leadership continues to inspire patients, families and members of the mesothelioma community.

Mesothelioma Specialist Spotlight – Dr. Jacques-Pierre Fontaine

Jacques Fontaine, M.D.Dr. Jacques P. Fontaine is a thoracic surgeon and the director of the Mesothelioma Center at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida. He is an Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of South Florida – College of Medicine..

Dr. Fontaine attended medical school at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. He then traveled to Boston where he did his general surgery residency and thoracic surgery fellowship. In Boston, he trained as Chief Resident under Dr. David Sugarbaker at Brigham and Women’s Hospital completing his Thoracic Surgery Fellowship. Upon completion of his Fellowship, he returned to Montreal and worked as a thoracic surgeon at the University of Montreal. He was soon recruited to become a part of Brown Medical School and lead a thoracic surgery program at one of their teaching hospitals. In 2011, he joined Moffitt Cancer Center. Dr. Fontaine’s passion and expertise includes treating mesothelioma and robotic lung and esophageal surgery. He is the director of both programs.

Dr. Fontaine is devoted to helping mesothelioma patients improve their lives. Therefore, he is very selective in choosing the best treatment option with his patients. As an expert in the treatment of mesothelioma, he sees every patient as an individual and advises what is best for them in collaboration with them. In the operating room, his goal is to remove all the tumor which is visible to the naked eye. If this is best achieved by removing the entire lung (also known as an extra-pleural pneumonectomy), he will do so. His goal is to improve not only the quantity of life, but more importantly the quality of life of his patients. If you are not a candidate for surgery, he will have you seen during your same visit to Moffitt by the other expert members of the Mesothelioma team who can help you, such as, a medical oncologist or a radiation oncologist. Dr. Fontaine can also recommend clinical trials for mesothelioma patients. He is very involved with research into future treatments for mesothelioma. Dr. Fontaine is passionate about his patients, very approachable and easy to talk with.

To contact Dr. Jacques-Pierre Fontaine please call 813-618-5967 or visit

Mesothelioma Specialist Spotlight – Dr. Hedy Kindler

Mesothelioma Specialist Spotlight – Dr. Hedy Kindler, University of Chicago

uch_005457-1Dr. Hedy Kindler is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago. She is also the Medical Director, Gastrointestinal Oncology, Mesothelioma Program. Dr. Kindler is an internationally known and respected expert in the care of mesothelioma patients. She is active in the mesothelioma community having served as immediate past president of the International Mesothelioma Interest Group (IMIG).

Dr. Kindler is a graduate of the State University of New York in Buffalo Medical School. Her intern and residency years were at The University of California at Los Angeles Medical Center. Her Fellowship was done at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

Since being in practice since 1995, she has been recognized by her peers and patients alike. She is an associate editor of Lung Cancer.   Her many accomplishments include articles, research, awards and speaking engagements, are her very devoted and grateful patients. Dr. Kindler serves on the Science Advisory Board of the Mesothelioma Foundation, a non-profit for mesothelioma, dedicated to supporting patients and scientists through research for a cure for mesothelioma. She has also been awarded the Selikoff Lifetime Achievement Award by the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization for her work on behalf of mesothelioma victims.

Dr. Kindler is passionate about improving the quality of life for mesothelioma patients. She is leading clinical trials that are showing promising results.

We recently reviewed in detail one of Dr. Kindler’s current mesothelioma clinical trials using the drug Pembrolizumab. For information about that clinical trial and to read our review click here.

On a personal note, Dr. Kindler is easily accessible via email and devoted to improving patient outcomes.

Mesothelioma Specialist Spotlight – Dr. Raphael Bueno

Dr. Raphael Bueno, Boston, BWH

bueno-2014If you go on the Internet and “Google” Dr. Raphael Bueno of Boston, you will find a host of bios and accomplishments. But Since Ellie and I have worked with him for years we would like to give an informal perspective prior to you reading all that he has established and accomplished. We both knew him as a young resident. As I remember he was always on top of his patients’ needs and their issues. He could remember the smallest details about his patients and always tried to provide the best medical care he could. These qualities are not easy in the stressful life of a young intern in a very competitive environment. He stood out as one of the brightest, interested, and, most importantly, compassionate resident.   As he progressed through his career as a young doctor he was very patient with other patients and professionals. He gave patients time to speak to him about their worries and concerns. About ten years ago I remember him caring for a particular patient who had been diagnosed with mesothelioma. It was a particularly busy time on the thoracic service, many sick patients and concerned family members. He would sit at his bedside and talk about life. Sometimes it was about the disease or just whatever the patient wanted to talk about. These are qualities that cannot be taught.

As a member of the medical team he is very well respected and offers the same to others. His colleagues know how committed he is to treating this disease and helping patient outcomes improve. If he is in Boston it usually is part of his routine to stop by and see each of his patients daily. If he is traveling there are usually phone calls from his fellow giving updates as needed. He checks with the patient and the nurses and listens openly. If there are issues to be resolved then he tries to offer solutions. If you need surgery and were to pick a surgeon this would be a great choice.   He is very invested and will work to give you the best care and outcome possible.

Dr. Bueno is the chief of Thoracic Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He is a graduate of Harvard Medical School and Harvard University. His residency was also done at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. His thoracic fellowship was done across town at Mass General Hospital. After completing his fellowship he returned back to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in 1996 as an attending physician in the thoracic division. His most recent studies of mesothelioma involve the genetics of the tumor and the makeup of the disease. He has a wide variety of interests in the thoracic field, which include mesothelioma, lung cancer and esophageal disorders and minimally invasive surgery. He is very involved with the research of mesothelioma and how we can treat this disease. Dr. Bueno was awarded Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School in 2011. He also is board certified as a surgeon and critical care. Along with his many accomplishments he continues to passionately pursue better treatment option leading ultimately to a cure for mesothelioma.


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Your message to us will be held in strict confidence. All requests for information by mesothelioma patients and their family members will be answered within 24 hours. Mesothelioma Treatment and Care Guides are sent to mesothelioma patients and families by overnight delivery.

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