About Dr. Sugarbaker
Dr. Paul H. Sugarbaker is the son of a cancer surgeon, so perhaps it was inevitable that his path should take him into medicine. His older brother, the late Dr. David Sugarbaker, is an internationally recognized thoracic surgeon who specialized in the treatment of mesothelioma.
He has dedicated his career to investigating rare diseases, particularly malignant (cancerous) peritoneal mesothelioma. Sugarbaker believes that this rare form of cancer can, one day, be cured. He is known as a “last hope” for late-stage peritoneal mesothelioma patients who have been turned down by other surgeons.
Dr. Paul Sugarbaker is most notable for pioneering a specialized treatment to cure abdominal cancers, called cytoreductive surgery with hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC).
The cytoreductive surgery with HIPEC is a treatment approach known as “The Sugarbaker Procedure.” Though the method was widely criticized, it is now a common procedure to treat mesothelioma patients. Survival rates are now rising in conjunction with cancer research.
Over half of malignant peritoneal mesothelioma patients who undergo the “Sugarbaker Procedure” live 5 years or longer.
Prior to cytoreduction with HIPEC becoming a standard peritoneal mesothelioma treatment, patients could expect to survive less than 21 months. Dr. Paul Sugarbaker’s treatment approach has dramatically increased survival times and ignited new hope for patients and their families.
As a founding member of the International Society of Regional Cancer Therapy, Dr. Paul Sugarbaker has received the Distinguished Service Award from the American Society of Abdominal Surgeons.
His work has also taken him overseas, lecturing at numerous universities and becoming a member of The Royal College of Surgeons of England and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, Scotland.
Growing up in Missouri, Dr. Paul Sugarbaker moved to New York City to attend medical school at Cornell University Medical College before progressing to his residency at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital (now known as Brigham and Women’s Hospital) in Boston.
In his final year, Dr. Sugarbaker was named Surgical Chief Resident, before going completing his fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
Dr. Paul Sugarbaker later achieved an MA degree in Immunology from Harvard School of Arts and Sciences. After his training in surgery at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, Dr. Sugarbaker spent ten years as a senior surgeon at the National Institute of Health, National Cancer Institute.
Dr. Sugarbaker is a member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, Scotland.
He also occupies the editorial boards of eleven journals and is a member of the American College of Surgeons, European Society of Surgical Oncology and a founding member of the International Society of Regional Cancer Therapy.
In 1989, Dr. Paul Sugarbaker was appointed medical director of the Washington Cancer Institute at MedStar Washington Hospital Center and has been working there for over 20 years.
After only three years into the position, he also became director of the peritoneal surface oncology program within the same cancer institute.