Specialty: Extrapleural Pneumonectomy (EPP)
The Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery
6620 Main St.
Houston, TX 77030
A Leading Pleural Mesothelioma Specialist
Patients with mesothelioma are dealing with a difficult and uncommon cancer. This disease requires expertise not available in all parts of the United States. Dr. David Sugarbaker is one of the top surgeons in the country. Dr. Sugarbaker sees patients with a variety of thoracic cancers, including those with pleural mesothelioma.
Dr. Sugarbaker is a leader when it comes to mesothelioma research and the treatment of patients with mesothelioma. He has several professional titles, including:
- Chief of General Thoracic Surgery
- Director of the Lung Institute at Baylor College of Medicine
- Surgical Professor at Baylor College of Medicine
His past experience and titles include:
- Chief of Thoracic Surgery and Executive Vice-Chair of the Department of Surgery at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts
- Chief of Surgical Services at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
- Professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School
Dr. David Sugarbaker received much of his initial training at Wheaton College and the Cornell University Medical College. He graduated in 1979. After graduation, he participated in several surgical residency programs. He trained at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and Toronto General Hospital.
Did You Know? Dr. Sugarbaker was instrumental in developing the first approach to the treatment of mesothelioma that combined surgery with aggressive chemotherapy. He uses heated intraoperative chemotherapy to rid the body of all of the mesothelioma cells.
Dr. Sugarbaker’s Treatment Approach
With his numerous affiliations, Dr. Sugarbaker is at the forefront of mesothelioma research. He is actively engaged in both research and treatment of the disease. Dr. David Sugarbaker has a special interest in the management of pleural mesothelioma. This is a cancer of the lining of the lung. He is one of the world’s leading experts in the care and treatment of patients suffering from mesothelioma.
Dr. Sugarbaker’s focus in research is in the area of “trimodal therapy.” Trimodal therapy is a three-pronged approach to treatment.
Trimodal therapy involves:
- Performing aggressive surgery to remove all signs of cancer
- Using chemotherapy to kill cells that were not removed in surgery
- Applying radiation to the chest
Dr. Sugarbaker feels that the trimodal approach gives his patients the best chance of long-lasting survival.
Dr. Sugarbaker is familiar with all types of mesothelioma treatment, including the following therapies:
- Extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP)
- Pleurectomy with decortication (P/D)
- Chemotherapy and radiation
Dr. Sugarbaker also places a large amount of effort into patient support. Along with patient consultations and developing a treatment program, he has made sure his patients have access to support groups. Emotional support for the patient and family is essential to approach treatment with the right attitude. It also provides peace of mind for everyone involved.
“Mesothelioma is not just a disease of the patient. It affects the entire family,” Dr. Sugarbaker said.
Improving Survival Rates Through Research
Dr. Sugarbaker has been instrumental in the development of improved survival rates in patients suffering from pleural mesothelioma. He has been closely involved in research tackling different genetic problems in mesothelioma cancer cells. He’s trying to learn why some cells respond well to chemotherapy, while other cells are more resistant.
The research found that there are genetic mutations in the different mesothelioma cells. These mutations make them sensitive or resistant to chemotherapy. This knowledge allows doctors to prescribe the right kind of chemotherapy drugs to their patients.
Dr. Sugarbaker travels all over the world, spreading his research. He teaches other medical professionals about treatment and talks to patients and family. He has a unique approach to dealing with mesothelioma that he shares with others through his lecture circuit.
Legacy Under the International Mesothelioma Program
Dr. Sugarbaker is the original founder of the International Mesothelioma Program (IMP) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. This program has a particular focus on treatment research and disease management. The IMP has a multidisciplinary team of medical professionals, each of whom plays an important role in the treatment of patients with malignant mesothelioma.
Dr. Sugarbaker is also working with the IMP to establish satellite programs in other parts of the world. He wants there to be cancer centers in areas where mesothelioma incidence is the highest. This helps mesothelioma patients get treatment without having to travel long distances for care.
Dr. Sugarbaker is head of the Lung Institute at Baylor College of Medicine. Formed in 2015, it was the first center in Texas that specializes in treating all lung ailments. Dr Sugarbaker moved here from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston to start another state-of-the-art mesothelioma program. The Lung Institute, however, is more than a mesothelioma center. The institute treats patients suffering from asthma to lung cancer. Chest wall deformities and esophageal cancer are other points of focus at this center.
In part because of his persistent work in the education of others on mesothelioma and in treating the disease, Dr. Sugarbaker has been chosen as one of “America’s Top Doctors.” He has held this distinction as a leader in his field since 2002. He has written and co-authored a large number of research articles on various types of lung diseases, including mesothelioma.
Seeing Dr. David Sugarbaker
Many people agree that Dr. David Sugarbaker is the best pleural mesothelioma surgeon in the country. His legacy is built on several institutions that have become the best mesothelioma research and treatment centers in the world. His latest work has transformed Baylor into a top cancer center in the country for patients with mesothelioma.
Patients choose Dr. Sugarbaker because:
- He has 3 decades of surgical experience.
- He offers multimodal treatment proven to lengthen survival times.
- He understands his patients and what it means to have mesothelioma.
There are mesothelioma patients surviving beyond 10 years and more thanks to Dr. Sugarbaker. His track record speaks for itself and patients know this. People come from all over the country seeking his expertise. Get your free Mesothelioma Veterans Guide to learn more about Dr. Sugarbaker and your treatment options.