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Dr. Paul Sugarbaker

Dr. Paul Sugarbaker

Patients who are not diagnosed with the typical pleural mesothelioma, but instead have peritoneal mesothelioma as a result of ingesting asbestos, require a specialist who has dealt with the diagnosis and treatment of peritoneal mesothelioma. This type of mesothelioma is often treated differently from patients with pleural mesothelioma. Such patients can find expertise in the treatment of this type of mesothelioma by seeing Dr. Paul Sugarbaker.

Dr. Paul Sugarbaker is known throughout the world as one of the premier specialists in the area of peritoneal mesothelioma, which is mesothelioma that has developed on the peritoneum, or the lining of the abdominal structures and the abdominal wall itself. This type of mesothelioma is much less common than pleural mesothelioma, so it is important to seek out a physician who specializes in managing such complex cases.

Dr. Paul Sugarbaker practices at the Cancer Institute at the Washington Hospital Center, where non-veteran patients with a previous history of asbestos exposure can be treated for their peritoneal mesothelioma. In the Washington, DC area, Dr. Paul Sugarbaker MD is the current director of the Peritoneal Surface Malignancy Program located at the Washington Cancer Institute. Because peritoneal mesothelioma is so uncommon, patients with this disease have a better chance of survival if they see a specialist who has treated many other patients suffering from this type of mesothelioma.

For those with peritoneal mesothelioma, Dr. Paul Sugarbaker is the doctor to see for the diagnosis and management of the disease. He is one of the leading authorities in the US, having treated many patients in the past who have developed the disease as a result of asbestos exposure. Dr. Sugarbaker is also considered a premier specialist in the treatment of other types of rare abdominal cancer, such as abdominal sarcomas, peritoneal carcinomatosis and pseudomyxoma peritonei.

Through his research and experience in treating patients with rare abdominal cancers, Dr. Paul Sugarbaker has been instrumental in developing an effective multi-modal approach to the treatment of various types of abdominal cancers. This includes patients who are suffering from malignant peritoneal mesothelioma. As this disease can be aggressive, patients will want to have urgent care for this type of cancer and they can get this by seeing Dr. Paul Sugarbaker, who has a special expertise in this area.

Dr. Paul Sugarbaker is not just a surgeon, but is also involved in peritoneal mesothelioma research. Because of this, patients with peritoneal mesothelioma can benefit from the latest research findings on the disease.

The Sugarbaker Procedure

Dr. Sugarbaker was instrumental in the development of the Sugarbaker Procedure, which is used in the surgical management of peritoneal mesothelioma.

The Sugarbaker Procedure for peritoneal mesothelioma involves undergoing aggressive cytoreductive surgery designed to remove as much of the visible evidence of mesothelioma as possible. After the surgery has been performed, the patient receives heated chemotherapy medications instilled directly into the peritoneal space. The goal of the heated chemotherapy treatment is to destroy any residual mesothelioma cells that could not be seen and were therefore not removed during surgery.

The heated chemotherapy medications are placed into the abdomen at the time of the cytoreductive surgery and are left in the abdomen for 90 minutes while the patient is still on the surgical table. After the 90 minutes have elapsed, the chemotherapy medications are drained out of the abdominal cavity and the surgery proceeds again, ending with closure of the abdominal wall, muscles and the abdominal skin. This is not an easy procedure to undergo, as it is extremely aggressive and can last for up to ten hours to be completely performed.

The Sugarbaker Procedure has been extensively researched and practiced by Dr. Paul Sugarbaker. According to the latest research on peritoneal mesothelioma, this procedure has been found to give patients with peritoneal mesothelioma the best chance at long-term survival from the disease. Peritoneal mesothelioma is very difficult to cure, so the focus now is on prolonging survival for those who have the disease.

As mentioned, Dr. Paul Sugarbaker is not just a surgeon, but is deeply involved in research on abdominal cancer and has written many papers on abdominal cancers, including those on peritoneal mesothelioma. He has written nearly a thousand journal and other articles that focus on the diagnosis and treatment of various types of abdominal cancers, including the rare peritoneal mesothelioma cancer.

Dr. Paul Sugarbaker is actively involved in cancer therapy and was one of the founders of the International Society of Regional Cancer Therapy. He is also a member of the editorial board of the European Journal of Surgical Oncology. He also was the founder of the Foundation for Applied Research in Gastrointestinal Oncology, which focuses on research efforts to cure various types of abdominal cancers.

“I think it can be cured. I’m convinced it can be cured. There will be a cure,” Dr. Paul Sugarbaker on peritoneal mesothelioma.

He says this because he has at least 30 years’ experience doing research in the field of mesothelioma.

Advances in the Treatment of Peritoneal Mesothelioma

As part of his research on peritoneal mesothelioma, Dr. Paul Sugarbaker has been instrumental in the development of several different novel treatments for the disease, including the cytoreduction with HIPEC procedure for peritoneal mesothelioma. He notes that this type of treatment is most effective in treating younger patients and women with the disease, who better tolerate this aggressive procedure and live longer than if they had simple removal of the tumor without heated chemotherapy.

“Patients who are young and strong, with a small volume of disease (mesothelioma) and a minimally aggressive disease have the best chance,” Dr. Sugarbaker notes of people with peritoneal mesothelioma.

Because the procedure for treating peritoneal mesothelioma is so aggressive, the doctor only selects those patients with the best chance of tolerating the procedure, based on their medical history, CT scan and pathological reports.

If you have been diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma or suspect that you have the disease because of asbestos exposure and abdominal symptoms, you can make an appointment to see Dr. Sugarbaker at his medical office, which is located at:

106 Irving Street NW

Suite 3900

Washington, DC 20010

Sources & Author Edited: May 16, 2016

About the Writer

Retired LCDR Carl Jewett

LCDR Carl Jewett is a retired Naval Officer, having served just under 24 years in the submarine force. He currently serves as a VA Accredited Claims Agent and as the Executive Director of the Veterans Assistance Network. He specializes in assisting veterans filing VA claims for asbestos-related disabilities such as mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancer.

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