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Washington Cancer Institute

Washington Cancer Institute is a top mesothelioma hospital in the heart of Washington, D.C. It is the city’s largest provider of cancer care, and it operates on a patient-focused philosophy. Those diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma can get the highest-quality treatments at the Washington Cancer Institute. We can help connect patients to mesothelioma hospitals near them.

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About Washington Cancer Institute

The Washington Cancer Institute is part of MedStar Washington Hospital Center, one of the largest hospitals in the United States. Many patients with mesothelioma come here to receive world-class care.

MedStar Washington Hospital Center is consistently recognized on U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Hospitals” list among many other awards and honors.

The Washington Cancer Institute, founded in 1992, has earned a reputation as the leading cancer center in the Washington, D.C. region.

The staff at Washington Cancer Institute takes a personalized, patient-centered approach to caring for mesothelioma patients. The center specializes in the most advanced techniques in medical, surgical, and radiation oncology.

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Asbestos and Mesothelioma at Washington Cancer Institute

Those with asbestos-related cancers like mesothelioma can expect a wide range of cutting-edge therapies at the Washington Cancer Institute.

Regarding mesothelioma, the Washington Cancer Institute is best known for its treatment of peritoneal mesothelioma.

Before his retirement in 2021, Dr. Paul Sugarbaker pioneered the successful treatment of peritoneal mesothelioma with the Sugarbaker Procedure, which is a combination of cytoreductive surgery and targeted heated chemotherapy (HIPEC).

Asbestos lung cancer patients can also see an experienced team of lung specialists at the Center for Comprehensive Lung Health.

Mesothelioma Doctors at Washington Cancer Institute

Dr. Sugarbaker was previously the director of the Center for Surgical Oncology at the Washington Cancer Institute before he retired in 2021. Dr. Sugabaker was the leading surgeon in treating peritoneal mesothelioma and passed on his knowledge to the current staff.

He is the older brother of the prominent surgeon for pleural mesothelioma patients, the late Dr. David Sugarbaker.

Radiation Oncology Specialists

  • Pamela Randolph-Jackson, MD
  • Adedamola B. Omogbehin, MD

Thoracic Surgery Specialists

  • Marc Margolis, MD

Surgical Oncology Specialists

  • Chukwuemeka Ihemelandu, MD
  • Mark Alan Steves, MD

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Mesothelioma Treatment Options at Washington Cancer Institute

The Washington Cancer Institute takes a multidisciplinary approach when it comes to treating mesothelioma.

Patients with mesothelioma will consult with a group of experts to determine the most appropriate treatment.

Multiple treatments may be used, including:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation
  • Surgery
  • Supportive care
Did You Know?

The Washington Cancer Institute launched the Peritoneal Surface Malignancies program in 1993 to better serve those with peritoneal mesothelioma as well as other complex cancers of the abdomen and pelvis.

While peritoneal mesothelioma used to have a poor health outlook, many patients treated at the Washington Cancer Institute now live full, active lives.


The Washington Cancer Institute has several types of surgery for peritoneal mesothelioma and other abdominal cancers.

These cancer surgeries include: 

  • Cytoreductive Surgery with HIPEC: As much of the tumor is removed as possible. Parts of organs like the liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, or female reproductive organs may also need to be removed. Then, the surgery site is bathed in warm chemotherapy (HIPEC) to kill unseen cancer cells. This surgery is commonly used to treat peritoneal mesothelioma.
  • Peritonectomy: This surgery strips away the peritoneum (abdominal lining) to remove tumors.

Cytoreductive surgery with HIPEC is far and away the most commonly used surgery for peritoneal mesothelioma since it can help patients live longer.

A prospective review of patients with peritoneal mesothelioma treated using cytoreduction with HIPEC revealed a median survival of 53 months (nearly 4 and a half years). Some patients can live for 15 years or more with this treatment.


Depending on the type of cancer and how far it extends, patients may need chemotherapy before or after surgery.

Chemotherapy may be administered: 

  • Before surgery (neoadjuvant): If the tumor is growing quickly, chemotherapy may be needed before surgery. It’s typically taken at home for 2 months beforehand, with a month to recover before the surgery.
  • After surgery (adjuvant): Some patients may need chemotherapy following surgery, but only if the cancer is considered high-grade.

Doctors give HIPEC immediately after cytoreductive surgery while still in the operating room.

Doctors heat chemotherapy drugs to make them more powerful and then soak the surgical site in the abdomen directly. HIPEC kills any remaining cancer cells without significantly affecting the rest of the body.

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Mesothelioma Patient Care Experience at Washington Cancer Institute

At the Washington Cancer Institute, patients can expect to receive a personalized approach when being treated for mesothelioma.

Cancer treatment is a life-changing event for patients and families, and the staff is dedicated to providing support and compassion.

The center provides advanced care in every oncology specialty and aims to use the newest therapies offered through clinical trials. The multidisciplinary team works together to determine the best treatment for the patient.

Patients and their families can also find comprehensive nurse navigators and social work services to support them before, during, and after mesothelioma treatment.

Research at the Washington Cancer Institute

The Washington Cancer Institute is committed to providing state-of-the-art and emerging technologies that deliver the latest, safest, and most effective cancer treatments. The center includes new therapies offered through clinical trials to qualifying patients.

Experts at the Washington Cancer Institute encourage peritoneal mesothelioma patients to participate in clinical trials that they may be eligible for.

Insurance Information

The Washington Cancer Institute accepts most managed care and commercial health insurance. The administrative staff is available to assist patients with the necessary insurance and referral requirements.

If you have questions or need more information, contact your insurance provider to make sure care from the Washington Cancer Institute will be covered.

Seeking Treatment at Washington Cancer Institute

The Washington Cancer Institute is a world-renowned center for peritoneal mesothelioma treatment.

Its staff is dedicated to providing the most comprehensive and patient-centered care by using the most up-to-date and effective treatments.

This center also strives for excellence in clinical care by promoting a healing environment and providing compassion and support before, during, and after treatment.

Connect with our Patient Advocates now for help getting care from top mesothelioma cancer centers like the Washington Cancer Institute. Our team is standing by to find the best doctors and hospitals near you.

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Mesothelioma Hope has no affiliation with and is not endorsed or sponsored by Washington Cancer Institute. Any contact information listed is for informational purposes only. You have the right to contact Washington Cancer Institute directly.

Jenna TozziWritten by:

Director of Patient Advocacy

Jenna Tozzi, RN, is the Director of Patient Advocacy at Mesothelioma Hope. With more than 15 years of experience as an adult and pediatric oncology nurse navigator, Jenna provides exceptional guidance and support to mesothelioma patients and their loved ones. Jenna has been featured in Oncology Nursing News and is a member of the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators & the American Nurses Association.

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  1. MedStar Washington Hospital Center. (n.d.). MedStar Washington Hospital Center. Retrieved May 7, 2024, from
  2. MedStar Washington Hospital Center. (n.d.). Cancer Care. Retrieved May 7, 2024, from
  3. MedStar Washington Hospital Center. (n.d.). Radiation Therapy. Retrieved May 7, 2024, from
  4. MedStar Washington Hospital Center. (n.d.). Oncological Surgery. Retrieved May 7, 2024, from
  5. MedStar Washington Hospital Center. (n.d.). Peritoneal Cancer. Retrieved May 7, 2024, from
  6. Surgical Oncology Clinics of North America. (n.d.). A review of peritoneal mesothelioma at the Washington Cancer Institute. Retrieved May 7, 2024, from
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