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Washington Cancer Institute

Washington Cancer Institute is a not-for-profit, state-of-the-art academic medical center located 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. Known for its excellent reputation in treating some of the region’s most advanced medical cases, the Washington Cancer Institute is a force for medical innovation, first-rate care, and high-level research and teaching.

About Washington Cancer Institute

The Washington Cancer Institute is a part of MedStar Washington Hospital Center, which is 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 was founded in 1992 and has earned a reputation of being the leading cancer center in the Washington, D.C. region.

It has become a model for comprehensive, multidisciplinary care for cancer centers across the nation.

The staff at Washington Cancer Institute takes a personalized, patient-centered approach when it comes to cancer care. 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 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.

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

Patient Care Experience

At the Washington Cancer Institute, patients can expect to receive a personalized approach to their mesothelioma care and treatment.

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 cancer treatment.

The Washington Cancer Institute is dedicated to providing the latest in technological advances, whether it is 3D imaging or CT and PET scanning.

This center is one of the most technologically advanced in the nation, allowing the staff to accurately diagnose and effectively treat cancer.

Mesothelioma Experts

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 thankfully 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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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, or surgery, along with supportive care.

Did You Know?

The Washington Cancer Institute launched the Peritoneal Surface Malignancies program in 1993 in order 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.

A prospective review of patients with peritoneal mesothelioma treated by the Sugarbaker Procedure revealed a median survival of 53 months. Some patients can go on to live for 15 years or more with this treatment.

Surgery

The Washington Cancer Institute 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.
  • Hemicolectomy: This procedure removes part of the colon.
  • Peritonectomy: This surgery strips away the peritoneum (abdominal lining) to remove tumors.

Chemotherapy

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 a peritonectomy or cytoreductive surgery while still in the operating room.

Doctors heat up 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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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 patients to participate in clinical trials to evaluate the effectiveness of promising treatment approaches.

There is no guarantee that new treatments from clinical trials will be better than those that already exist, but it’s a chance to gain access to innovative options that are not otherwise available.

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 mesothelioma treatment, particularly peritoneal mesothelioma.

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.

For more information on working with the experts at the Washington Cancer Institute, contact us today.

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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.

Written by:

Lead Editor

Laura Wright is a journalist and content strategist with more than 14 years of professional experience. She attended college at the University of Florida, graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2008. Her writing has been featured in The Gainesville Sun and other regional publications throughout Florida.

6 References
  1. MedStar Washington Hospital Center, “MedStar Washington Hospital Center”. Retrieved from: https://www.medstarhealth.org/locations/medstar-washington-hospital-center. Accessed on January 10, 2023.

  2. MedStar Washington Hospital Center, “Cancer Care”. Retrieved from: https://www.medstarhealth.org/services/cancer. Accessed on January 10, 2023.

  3. MedStar Washington Hospital Center, “Radiation Therapy”. Retrieved from: https://www.medstarhealth.org/services/radiation-therapy. Accessed on January 10, 2023.

  4. MedStar Washington Hospital Center, “Oncological Surgery”. Retrieved from: https://www.medstarhealth.org/services/oncological-surgery. Accessed on January 10, 2023.

  5. MedStar Washington Hospital Center, “Peritoneal Cancer”. Retrieved from: https://www.medstarhealth.org/services/peritoneal-cancer#q=. Accessed on January 10, 2023.

  6. Surgical Oncology Clinics of North America, “A review of peritoneal mesothelioma at the Washington Cancer Institute”. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14567020. Accessed on January 10, 2023.

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