Top 5 Peritoneal Mesothelioma Doctors for Veterans

4 Min Read

a doctor meets with an elderly male patient

Peritoneal mesothelioma doctors like Dr. Paul Sugarbaker and Dr. Hedy Lee Kindler offer patients the best chance of survival. These specialists know how to use treatments like cytoreduction with hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) to help patients live longer. Learn about some of the top peritoneal mesothelioma doctors below.

How Peritoneal Mesothelioma Doctors Help Patients

Peritoneal mesothelioma doctors have the knowledge to treat this cancer while general oncologists (cancer doctors) may not.

There are only 500-800 new cases of peritoneal mesothelioma each year and most oncologists see only a few cases in their entire career. As a result, they may not possess the experience or knowledge to offer the most up-to-date treatments.

Further, peritoneal mesothelioma is treated differently than pleural mesothelioma or other types of this cancer. Thus, patients need to find a peritoneal mesothelioma specialist to receive proper treatments.

Since veterans are at a higher risk of peritoneal mesothelioma – and all other types of mesothelioma — it is vital to know which doctors can offer the best care after a diagnosis.

Dr. Paul Sugarbaker

One of the world’s most important peritoneal mesothelioma doctors, Dr. Paul Sugarbaker (who has retired) developed the groundbreaking therapy known as cytoreduction with HIPEC.

This treatment follows a two-step process:

  1. Doctors remove all visible cancer tumors from the abdomen lining via cytoreductive surgery.
  2. Doctors then apply a heated chemotherapy treatment directly into the surgery site to kill invisible cancer cells that may remain.

“It’s what the surgeon doesn’t see that kills the patient.”

– Dr. Paul Sugarbaker

Patients who undergo cytoreduction with HIPEC can live anywhere from 38-92 months after diagnosis. Without any treatment, patients with peritoneal mesothelioma can expect to live less than six months.

Practicing medicine since 1976, Dr. Sugarbaker served as the Chief of the Peritoneal Surface Malignancy Program at the Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C.

He is also the brother of the late renowned pleural mesothelioma specialist Dr. David Sugarbaker.

Dr. James Pingpank

Dr. James Pingpank has more than a decade of experience treating peritoneal mesothelioma. He currently treats patients at the University of Pittsburgh Hillman Cancer Center.

Like Dr. Sugarbaker, he uses cytoreduction with HIPEC to help patients live longer. Dr. Pingpank notes that through this treatment, mesothelioma is slow to return after it is removed.

“A large number of patients go a significant amount of time without a recurrence [where the cancer returns] and when [recurrences] do happen, they happen at a very slow rate of progression.”

– Dr. James Pingpank

Dr. Pingpank is also at the forefront of peritoneal mesothelioma research. He currently studies how regional treatments can be used to treat mesothelioma patients more effectively.

To make an appointment with Dr. Pingpank, call the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center at (412) 692-2852.

Dr. H. Richard Alexander

Dr. H. Richard Alexander has served as the Chief Surgical Officer at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey since 2017. The cancer center described him as “an international leader in developing advanced treatments for peritoneal mesothelioma.”

Before joining the Rutgers Cancer Institute, Dr. Alexander served in the U.S. Navy as a medical officer and worked in the surgery branch of the government-sponsored National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Dr. Alexander and his team are proud to use cytoreduction with HIPEC to treat peritoneal mesothelioma patients.

“Cytoreduction with HIPEC requires specialized expertise and equipment not available at all treatment centers. It is widely acknowledged that complications and the risk of the procedure are minimized when performed by surgeons and at medical centers with experience in this area.”

– Dr. H. Richard Alexander

Dr. Alexander also studies new ways that surgeries can be used to treat peritoneal mesothelioma and other cancers.

Dr. Alexander can be reached at (732) 235-2465.

Dr. Hedy Lee Kindler

Dr. Hedy Lee Kindler is the director of the Mesothelioma Program at the University of Chicago Medicine.

Dr. Kindler lost her father to mesothelioma in 2001, and since that time she has made it her mission to help others with this rare cancer.

She is internationally known for her novel research to improve mesothelioma outcomes and is recognized as an experienced leader of clinical trials. Clinical trials test new mesothelioma treatments with the hopes of finding a cure.

Dr. Kindler was listed in books like America’s Top Doctors for Cancer and Best Doctors in America several times and received the Selikoff Lifetime Achievement Award by the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO).

To make an appointment with Dr. Kindler, call (855) 702-8222 or visit the University of Chicago Medicine website.

Dr. Michael D. Kluger

Dr. Michael Kluger treats patients at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York.

He has been particularly encouraged by the use of cytoreduction with HIPEC to treat peritoneal mesothelioma patients.

“We’ve had great success extending the life of patients with this disease significantly more than giving chemotherapy through the veins.”

– Dr. Michael Kluger

Dr. Kluger was listed among the nation’s best doctors by Castle Connolly in 2018 and 2019.

Patients can schedule an appointment with Dr. Kluger by calling (212) 305-6514.

How to Work With Peritoneal Mesothelioma Doctors

Anyone diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma can reach out to the doctors listed above to seek treatment. Mesothelioma doctors offer the most cutting-edge treatments available to improve the lifespan.

Veterans can contact the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to see if they can receive care from peritoneal mesothelioma doctors through the VA MISSION Act. This act allows veterans to seek care from non-VA doctors if they need medical services that the VA does not provide.

Receive a Free Veterans Packet to learn more about peritoneal mesothelioma doctors and treatments.

Veterans Support Team
Christopher Dryfoos PhotoWritten by:

Contributing Author

Christopher Dryfoos is a journalist and member of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA). As the grandson of the U.S. Navy’s first forensic pathologist, he aims to help veterans with mesothelioma access needed care.

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