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Dr. Paul Sugarbaker

When Dr. Paul Sugarbaker created the Sugarbaker Procedure, it was criticized as extreme and dangerous. The 10-hour surgical procedure involves removing the patient’s internal organs, cutting out hundreds of tumors and soaking the abdominal area with heated chemotherapy drugs. It is extreme but also a patient’s last hope.

Now called Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC), the procedure is known to be a lifesaver for many types of abdominal cancers, including mesothelioma. Sugarbaker is known for taking risks with patients, but those risks often have positive results. Sugarbaker, whose brother is the other famed mesothelioma surgeon, Dr. David Sugarbaker, has been using a multimodal approach to cancer treatment long before the term ‘multimodal approach’ was coined.

Paul Sugarbaker is the medical director for the Center of Gastrointestinal Malignancies at MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C. He is internationally known for his expertise in the field of surgical oncology and specializes in rare diseases such as mesothelioma. When it comes to mesothelioma specialists, there are few who are better than Sugarbaker in treating abdominal mesothelioma.

Sugarbaker has written or contributed to more than 800 scientific publications, written numerous textbooks and published a book specifically about the Sugarbaker Procedure.

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Mesothelioma Specialist in Washington, D.C.

Throughout the capital city, there are many locations that are known to have asbestos, including the Washington Navy Yard and historic buildings such as the Smithsonian museums. Construction projects have been known to stir up deadly asbestos.

If you or someone you know has been exposed to asbestos in Washington, D.C., it’s important to see a mesothelioma specialist for the most advanced care. Although there are many oncologists in town, the best chance at a quick recovery is a mesothelioma specialist such as Sugarbaker. Contact us our Patient Advocates for more information.

What are Sugarbaker’s specialties

Sugarbaker is a pioneer and innovator in the field of thoracic oncology. Since he pioneered HIPEC, he has performed nearly 2000 of the surgeries. In addition to the surgery, Sugarbaker has several research interests:

  • Mesothelioma
  • Peritoneal surface cancers
  • Appendix malignancies
  • Pseudomyxoma pertonei
  • Peritoneal metastases
  • Cytoreductive surgery
  • Intravenous chemotherapy
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Gastrointestinal surgical cancers

Some of Sugarbaker’s common research topics include identifying factors that affect a surgeon’s ability to correctly utilize cytoreductive surgery with intraperitoneal chemotherapy and the prevention and management of colorectal cancer.

Sugarbaker has said he is optimistic about the future of the HIPEC procedure and disease treatment. Since he pioneered the procedure, he has seen a growing number of oncologists embracing it.

What is Sugarbaker background

Sugarbaker received his medical degree from Cornell University Medical College and went on to Brigham Hospital, now Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in Boston for his surgical training. For a decade, he was a senior surgeon at the National Institutes of Health. By 1989, Sugarbaker was appointed a medical director at MedStar.

In 1993, Sugarbaker created the Foundation for Applied Research in Gastrointestinal Oncology (FARGO), which promotes education, research and patient care in gastrointestinal cancers. He has also received a numerous amount of awards and professional accolades. This includes the 1997 E.T. Krementz Award for best research development and a Distinguished Service Award from the American Society of Abdominal Surgeons in 2001.


Wilber, Del Quentin. “Surgeon performs controversial cancer surgery named after him.” The Washington Post. 2012. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/surgeon-performs-controversial-cancer-surgery-named-after-him/2012/11/25/c8ad7ab8-29da-11e2-bab2-eda299503684_story.html

MedStar Health Research Institute. Paul H. Sugarbaker. Retrieved from https://www.medstarhealth.org/research/Pages/For-Research-Professionals/Principal-Investigators/Paul-H-Sugarbaker.aspx