Dr. Raphael Bueno

Quick Summary

Dr. Raphael Bueno is an experienced cardiothoracic surgeon who is considered one of the nation’s leading cancer researchers and experts on mesothelioma.

What makes Dr. Bueno unique as a mesothelioma specialist is that he treats all three main types of mesothelioma — pleural, peritoneal, and pericardial. Many mesothelioma doctors only focus on one type of the cancer.

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About Dr. Raphael Bueno

Dr. Raphael Bueno MD

Dr. Raphael Bueno is an award-winning and highly sought-after surgeon and cancer researcher who has made a name for himself among the world’s leading experts on mesothelioma.

He can treat all three types of mesothelioma, with treatments that often combine multiple types of therapy and surgery.

Dr. Bueno also participates extensively in cancer research, with much of his research currently funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

His current main research focus is on using genomics to improve the ways that cancers like mesothelioma are predicted, diagnosed, and treated.

What Medical Conditions Does Dr. Bueno Treat?

Dr. Bueno is known for treating all three types of mesothelioma.

The three main types of mesothelioma are:

  • Pleural mesothelioma: This type of mesothelioma is by far the most common, and occurs in a person’s lungs.
  • Peritoneal mesothelioma: This type of mesothelioma occurs in the peritoneum, which is a membrane that surrounds a person’s abdominal cavity.
  • Pericardial mesothelioma: This type of mesothelioma occurs in a person’s heart, and is considered the rarest and most deadly form of mesothelioma.

As a thoracic surgeon, Dr. Bueno also has extensive experience treating diseases that affect the esophagus and lungs, such as esophageal and lung cancer.

Currently, Dr. Bueno has over 20 years of experience in treating conditions of the thoracic region. His clinical research has also helped to improve the diagnosis and treatment of various types of cancer.

Working with your doctor to make sure you're getting the right treatment is imperative. Using our checklist to make sure you're asking the right questions can help make sure you're getting the best treatment.

Dr. Bueno’s Medical Background

Dr. Bueno earned his medical degree from the joint program between Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

After earning his M.D., Dr. Bueno completed an internship and surgical residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Next, Dr. Bueno completed a cardiothoracic surgery residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital, also located in Boston.

After his residencies, Dr. Bueno returned to Brigham and Women’s Hospital to establish his surgical practice, and he has remained there ever since.


At present, Dr. Bueno divides his time between mesothelioma patients, participating in clinical trials to improve mesothelioma treatments, and important cancer research with genetics that could one day lead to a cure for mesothelioma.

Dr. Bueno also currently leads the International Mesothelioma Program (IMP) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a group of mesothelioma researchers that was initially founded in 2002 by the late Dr. David Sugarbaker.

Medical Specializations

As a board-certified thoracic surgeon, Dr. Bueno’s main passions are in the further research of lung cancer and mesothelioma treatment, although he treats many more conditions.

Dr. Bueno’s medical specialties include the treatment of the following

  • Esophageal diseases and cancers
  • Disorders of the trachea
  • Airway management and swallowing problems
  • Lung cancer
  • Non-small cell lung cancer
  • Lung tumors
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
  • Hernia management
  • Pleural mesothelioma
  • Peritoneal mesothelioma
  • Pericardial mesothelioma

Dr. Bueno also specializes in the following treatments and procedures

  • General surgery
  • Thoracic surgery
  • Cardiovascular surgery
  • Resection surgery
  • Decortication surgery
  • Pleurectomy (a surgical procedure to remove the lining around the lungs)
  • Esophagectomy (the partial or complete removal and reconstruction of the esophagus)
  • Transthoracic needle biopsy of thoracic lesions
  • Performed the first image-guided video-assisted thoracic surgery (iVATS) procedure in the world on one of his lung cancer patients

Dr. Bueno’s Treatment Approach

Dr. Bueno’s current treatment approach is to better understand mesothelioma and other similar cancer types through a deeper understanding of human genetics.

By treating and researching all three forms of mesothelioma, Dr. Bueno has also helped bring attention to the less common types of mesothelioma and the need for improved treatments and diagnostic tools.

His work has brought Brigham and Women’s Hospital to the forefront of cancer treatment and research and helped turn it into a world-class facility for mesothelioma patients.

Highlights of Dr. Bueno’s Medical Career

Dr. Bueno’s career as a healthcare provider in cancer care has been extensive, and he has earned much local and national recognition along the way.

Awards and Accolades

As both an accomplished cancer researcher and surgeon, Dr. Bueno is frequently recognized and awarded for his achievements in both fields.

  • Some of his awards and accolades include:

    • Castle Connolly Award for America’s Top Doctors
    • Castle Connolly Award for America’s Top Doctors for Cancer
    • Awarded title of “Top Doctors” in Boston Magazine
    • Henry A. Christian Award
    • Checkbook Top Doc
    • SuperDoc

Work Highlights

Through a number of leadership roles and memberships in relevant and notable organizations, Dr. Bueno has further extended his contributions to the fields of cancer research and treatment.

  • These memberships, affiliations, and roles include:

    • Chief of the Division of Thoracic Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital
    • Co-Director of the Lung Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital
    • Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School
    • Board-Certified in Surgery, Surgical Critical Care, and Thoracic and Cardiac Surgery
    • Member of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery
    • Member of the Cardiothoracic Surgery Network
    • Member of the European Society of Thoracic Surgeons
    • Member of the General Thoracic Surgical Club

Research and Published Works

Dr. Bueno regularly and frequently participates in research and articles that have appeared in peer-reviewed and respected medical journals.

  • Some of his most recent contributions from the past few years include:

    • Carbone, M., et al. “Mesothelioma: Scientific clues for prevention, diagnosis, and therapy.” Published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Physicians, September 2019.
    • Hmeljak, J., et al. “Integrative Molecular Characterization of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma.” Published in Cancer Discovery, December 2018.
    • Slyper, M., et al. “A single-cell and single-nucleus RNA-Seq toolbox for fresh and frozen human tumors.” Published in Nature Medicine, May 2020.
    • Wadowski, B., et al. “The Molecular Basis of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma.” Published in Thoracic Surgery Clinics, November 2020.
    • Zilionis, R., et al. “Single-Cell Transcriptomics of Human and Mouse Lung Cancers Reveals Conserved Myeloid Populations across Individuals and Species.” Published in Immunity, May 2019.

Dr. Bueno’s Work in Cancer Treatment & Research

Much of Dr. Bueno’s current cancer research has been based on the discovery that while men tend to be diagnosed with mesothelioma more frequently, women diagnosed with mesothelioma tend to live longer.

This discovery led Dr. Bueno to perform whole-genome sequencing on a set of mesothelioma tumors removed from patients of both genders. This allowed him to analyze their genetic compositions and identify the differences between them at a molecular level.

In turn, this research has led to significant advances in how mesothelioma is understood on a genetic level, and will greatly impact the way it is prevented, diagnosed, and treated in new patients.

Dr. Bueno’s Contributions to the Medical Profession

Dr. Bueno’s medical contributions to cancer research have brought about a greater understanding of genetics and mesothelioma. This is an important step in improving the prognosis for people with mesothelioma.

In fact, his research in genetics is the first step in being able to prevent or eliminate gene mutations that can lead to mesothelioma. In doing so, he is helping to potentially create improved treatments and even vaccines to protect against mesothelioma in the future.

Connect With Dr. Raphael Bueno

If you or a family member has been diagnosed with any type of mesothelioma, you may be a good candidate for the services of Dr. Bueno or other doctors who treat mesothelioma.

Dr. Bueno may be contacted directly through the Brigham and Women’s Hospital by calling (617) 732-6824 or by emailing [email protected]

Additionally, Dr. Bueno has offices in both the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Lung Center at 15 Francis Street, and at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Lowe Center for Thoracic Oncology at 450 Brookline Avenue, both in Boston.

If you cannot reach Dr. Bueno or want further assistance in connecting with him or a different mesothelioma specialist near you, we are here to help at the Mesothelioma Veterans Center.

More than a third of mesothelioma victims are veterans, and we are dedicated to providing free support for veterans and their families. Call us at (877) 450-8973 or fill out our contact form anytime for mesothelioma support and resources.

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 3 Sources
  1. Boston Magazine. “Top Docs Q&A: Raphael Bueno.” Retrieved from: https://www.bostonmagazine.com/health/2014/12/09/top-docs-raphael-bueno/. Accessed on February 1, 2023.
  2. Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “Raphael Bueno, MD.” Retrieved from: https://physiciandirectory.brighamandwomens.org/details/1303/raphael-bueno-thoracic_surgery-boston. Accessed on January 31, 2023.
  3. U.S. News and World Report. “Dr. Raphael Bueno, MD.” Retrieved from: https://health.usnews.com/doctors/raphael-bueno-21635. Accessed on January 31, 2023.
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