A headshot of Dr. Paul Sugarbaker, a peritoneal mesothelioma doctor

Dr. Paul Sugarbaker

Oncology Surgeon

Address Cancer Institute at the Washington Hospital Center
106 Irving Street NW Suite 3900
Washington DC, 20010

The Most-Renowned Peritoneal Mesothelioma Specialist

Patients diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma require a specialist who has dealt with the diagnosis and treatment of this disease. Peritoneal mesothelioma is rarer than other mesothelioma types. This means a specialist is even more important.

Dr. Paul H. Sugarbaker is known throughout the world as one of the premier specialists in the area of malignant peritoneal mesothelioma. This type of mesothelioma develops on the peritoneum, which is the lining surrounding abdominal organs and that of the abdominal wall.

Did you know?

The mesothelioma community widely agrees that the best chances of long-term survival come from cancer surgery. Dr. Paul Sugarbaker is considered by many to be the top peritoneal mesothelioma surgical oncologist. He is responsible for patients living longer than 10 years after their diagnosis.

Dr. Paul Sugarbaker practices at the Washington Cancer Institute at the MedStar Washington Hospital Center. Dr. Sugarbaker is the current Chief of the Peritoneal Surface Malignancy Program and the Director of the Center for Gastrointestinal Malignancies. 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 one of the top doctors to see for long-term survival. He is one of the leading authorities on peritoneal mesothelioma in the U.S. He has treated hundreds of mesothelioma patients. Dr. Sugarbaker is also considered a premier specialist in the treatment of other types of gastrointestinal cancers. This includes rare diseases like abdominal sarcomas, peritoneal carcinomatosis, and pseudomyxoma peritonei.

Dr. Sugarbaker received his medical degree from Cornell University Medical College and trained at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston. His brother is the late Dr. David Sugarbaker, renowned pleural mesothelioma expert.

Research and Treatment Method

Patients benefit from seeing Dr. Sugarbaker because he is at the forefront of current research. His continual building of knowledge on the disease is why he’s so good. But it also means that his patients benefit from the latest cancer treatment developments from his research.

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 based on his 30 years of experience doing research in the field of mesothelioma.

Dr. Paul Sugarbaker has been instrumental in developing an effective multimodal approach to mesothelioma. Multimodal treatment includes a combination of different types of mesothelioma treatments.

In Dr. Sugarbaker’s case, his research has led to a combination of surgery and chemotherapy. The key to this treatment is chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is heated and applied during surgery. It’s called hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy or HIPEC. Some have called it “the Sugarbaker Procedure.”

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The Sugarbaker Procedure

The Sugarbaker Procedure is more commonly called cytoreduction with HIPEC. The first step is the cytoreduction. This aggressive cytoreductive surgery removes as much of the visible evidence of mesothelioma as possible.

The second step is HIPEC. After the surgery, the patient receives heated chemotherapy medications. The surgeon places the chemo directly into the abdominal cavity. The goal of HIPEC is to destroy microscopic cells left in the abdomen. This is because the surgeon can’t remove what he can’t see. HIPEC ensures that most of the cancer is removed or killed.

“Dr. Sugarbaker is a strong critic of surgical tradition,” the medical journal Future Medicine said. “He believes that major changes in the technology of cancer resection are necessary. His theme, ‘It’s what the surgeon doesn’t see that kills the patient’, summarizes the concepts behind many of his publications both in the peer-reviewed medical literature and in the lay press.”

The surgeon places heated chemotherapy medications into the abdomen. The surgeon leaves the chemo in the abdomen for 90 minutes. After 90 minutes, the doctor drains the chemotherapy medications. The surgeon closes the abdominal wall, muscles, and the abdominal skin. This is a radical procedure that can last up to 10 hours.

Is Radical Surgery Worth It?

Cytoreduction with HIPEC has been extensively researched and practiced by Dr. Paul Sugarbaker. This procedure gives patients the best chance at long-term survival. The latest research confirms this. In Dr. Sugarbaker’s opinion, the radical treatment option isn’t just worth it, it’s absolutely necessary.

Dr. Paul Sugarbaker is deeply involved in research on abdominal cancer. He has written nearly a thousand articles on the treatment of various types of abdominal cancers. These include the efficacy of cytoreduction with HIPEC.

Did you know?

In a clinical review of cytoreduction with HIPEC, researchers found it greatly improved survival times. At the low end patients lived at least 2.5 years. At the higher end, patients were living well beyond 7 years.

Advances in the Treatment of Peritoneal Mesothelioma

The development of the Sugarbaker Procedure is the greatest advancement ever for peritoneal mesothelioma. The application of this procedure is only getting better. Dr. Sugarbaker says that this type of treatment is most effective in treating younger patients and women. This is because they tolerate this aggressive procedure better. But older men are good candidates too if they are generally healthy. The addition of HIPEC to surgery is the most important part of extending survival.

“Patients who are young and strong, with a small volume of disease (mesothelioma) and a minimally aggressive disease have the best chance,” Dr. Sugarbaker said about his patients.

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

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Getting Connected With Dr. Sugarbaker

It’s safe to say for many former patients that Dr. Paul Sugarbaker is the best peritoneal mesothelioma surgeon in the world. He has proven to be a consistent and dedicated to extending the lives of his patients. When the HIPEC procedure was considered controversial, Dr. Sugarbaker stood firm in his convictions that it helped patients. Now HIPEC is a standard surgical operation for peritoneal mesothelioma.

Peritoneal mesothelioma patients choose Dr. Paul Sugarbaker because:

  • He has decades of surgical experience.
  • He made heated chemotherapy a standard in surgical treatment.
  • He has a reputation for helping patients live longer.

Dr. Sugarbaker knows what it takes to become a mesothelioma survivor. Patients across the world come to him for treatment. Other mesothelioma doctors even consult with him for advice. Get your free Mesothelioma Veterans Packet now to Learn More about Dr. Sugarbaker and his treatment methods.


The Mesothelioma Veterans Center has no affiliation with and is not endorsed or sponsored by Dr. Paul Sugarbaker. The contact information above is listed for informational purposes only. You have the right to contact Dr. Paul Sugarbaker Directly.

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.

View Sources

Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation. “Mesothelioma Symposium 2009 - Paul Sugarbaker, MD - Peritoneal Mesothelioma.” YouTube. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgHrIuox3pc. Accessed on September 21st, 2017.

Future Medicine. Colorectal Cancer VOL. 2, NO. 3. News & Views. “Interview: The evolution of treatment for peritoneal metastases.” Retrieved from: https://www.futuremedicine.com/doi/abs/10.2217/crc.13.29. Accessed on September 21st, 2017.

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