About Dr. Fontaine
As a specialized thoracic surgeon, Dr. Jacques Fontaine primarily treats patients diagnosed with esophageal and pleural mesothelioma. He is best known for his expertise in robotic surgery.
Pleural mesothelioma is found in the lining of the lungs and accounts for the majority of mesothelioma cases.
Within his career, Dr. Fontaine has gained ample experience performing extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) and pleurectomy/decortication (P/D) surgeries — the two standard surgical treatments for pleural mesothelioma.
Due to his expertise in surgically treating mesothelioma, Dr. Fontaine works very closely with other specialized oncologists to ensure patients receive the best care possible.
Dr. Fontaine’s Career Highlights
Dr. Fontaine’s career highlights include:
- Expertise in robotic surgery for the treatment of pleural mesothelioma cancer
- Specialization in thoracic surgery, professorship, and research
- Involvement in clinical trials
Dr. Fontaine’s Background
With experience practicing medicine in both rural and urban settings across Canada and the United States, Dr. Fontaine brings a unique perspective to treating mesothelioma.
Matched with his specialization in thoracic surgery, Dr. Fontaine’s multicultural background and unique work experience have enabled him to develop and perfect innovative surgical techniques.
Dr. Fontaine is fluent in Arabic, English, French, and Spanish.
Medical School and Practice
Dr. Fontaine attended medical school at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. Upon graduation, he moved to the United States to attend Boston University for training in general surgery.
He returned to Canada to practice as a general surgeon in a small town in Newfoundland with limited resources.
“I was the only surgeon in a 300-mile radius [in Newfoundland]. There was no backup to consult if you had a problem. I grew up quickly there as a doctor.”
He returned to the United States to complete his specialization in thoracic surgery at Harvard University, where he graduated as the top thoracic resident at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
It was during this time that Dr. Fontaine worked alongside the late Dr. David Sugarbaker, a highly respected mesothelioma specialist, and developed an interest in mesothelioma.
After his extensive schooling, Dr. Fontaine was recruited by Brown Medical School to join their Department of Thoracic Surgery.
He was responsible for developing a new thoracic surgery program for one of Brown’s teaching hospitals. Success in this area of his work led him to a position as an assistant professor of surgery at the University of South Florida a few years after.
Dr. Fontaine currently works at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa.
As a thoracic surgeon, Dr. Fontaine has experience treating a wide range of cancers found in the chest cavity. These cancers include mesothelioma, along with lung and esophageal cancers. He is best known for his expertise in minimally invasive surgeries for the treatment of pleural mesothelioma.
These minimally invasive surgeries involve the use of robots to perform EPP and P/D surgeries, which attempt to control mesothelioma tumor growth by partially or fully removing the infected lung.
“The surgery involves me as a human surgeon controlling instruments using a very precise tool called a robot. Compared to traditional surgical techniques, cuts are smaller, there is less pain, faster recovery and less chances of a complication.”
Dr. Fontaine’s Career Accomplishments
Dr. Fontaine has emerged as a respected thoracic surgeon in a relatively short period of time. His most significant career accomplishment to date has been his expertise and high success rate in treating pleural mesothelioma patients using robotic surgery.
His innovative surgical expertise may have also come from his work as a teacher throughout his career.
Awards & Honors
Dr. Fontaine’s awards and honors include:
- American College of Chest Physicians (FACCP) Fellow
- American College of Surgeons (ACS) Fellow
- Royal College of Surgeons of Canada (FRCA) Fellow
Dr. Fontaine’s Current Work
Dr. Fontaine currently works at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida. Since 2011, he has worked with pulmonologists, oncologists, and researchers who are engaged in developing innovative treatment approaches.
In 2013, he was named the director of the Mesothelioma Research and Treatment Center. In this role, he further develops his expertise in robotic surgery alongside other mesothelioma specialists.
Dr. Fontaine also leads the Robotic Surgery fellowship program at Moffitt, which is a 12-month specialization offered to recent thoracic surgery graduates.
“We are lucky enough to be in a league of our own at Moffitt Cancer Center. Our surgeons are ultra-specialized for doing cancer surgery on one specific body part.
I do the same surgery over and over again for cancer on one specific body part and we all work together that way.”
Notable Work by Dr. Fontaine
Dr. Fontaine has contributed to numerous scientific publications analyzing emerging treatment methods and their effects on various cancers arising in the chest cavity.
The most notable publications by Dr. Fontaine have been his research on robotic surgical outcomes. For example, he has studied the effectiveness of the technique in removing cancerous tissue and a patient’s lung capacity following treatment.
Since 2013, he has studied robotic surgery across different cancer stages and surgical procedures for treating mesothelioma, lung cancer, and esophageal cancer.
Results from these studies have confirmed that robotic surgery is a safe and feasible treatment for patients. Additionally, his research has shown that this technique may be the most effective at removing large tumors with minimal damage and discomfort.
Dr. Fontaine’s Multimodal Treatment Philosophy
Dr. Fontaine firmly believes in the use of multimodal treatments to combat mesothelioma — the combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation.
As a thoracic surgeon with specialized skills in advanced surgical techniques, he collaborates with chemotherapy and radiation specialists to ensure patients receive the best possible care.
“Collaboration is the key to the treatment of lung cancer, esophageal cancer, or mesothelioma. Sometimes surgery is not enough.
The combination of chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery is the key to the best chance of a cure. You need all three under one roof. And that’s what we do here at Moffitt Cancer Center.”
If you’ve been diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma and you’re looking for a second opinion from Dr. Fontaine or another mesothelioma specialist, contact our Patient Advocates today.