Dr. Flores is a board-certified thoracic surgeon who focuses on lung cancer, pleural mesothelioma, esophageal cancer and other abdominal conditions. He has completed extensive clinical and laboratory research on mesothelioma and lung cancer.
Dr. Flores is an authority in several types of lung cancer and has had his research published in over 100 medical journals. He has been invited to speak at destinations all around the world and has given approximately 200 formal lectures and presentations in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia.
“What we’re trying to do is help patients live longer with better quality of life.” —Dr. Flores.
Dr. Raja Flores was born and raised in New York, NY, and most of his surgical career has been defined in the “Big Apple.” Dr. Flores is fluent in English and Spanish, and also speaks Arabic.
Dr. Flores’ Location
Mount Sinai Medical Center
One Gustave L. Levy Place
1470 Madison Avenue
New York, NY, 10029
Dr. Flores’ Career Highlights
- Chairman of Thoracic Surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital
- Principal Investigator of the Libby Epidemiology Research Program, which was a $4.8 million project researching the consequences of exposure to asbestos including mesothelioma
- Lead investigator in a mesothelioma trial that used EPP, chemotherapy & radiation to extend patients’ lives
- Established the minimally-invasive VATS lobectomy as the ideal lung cancer surgery
Dr. Flores’ Background
Dr. Flores began his post-secondary education at New York University, where he earned an undergraduate degree in biochemistry. Dr. Flores then went to medical school at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, completing his MD in 1992.
Dr. Flores spent the next five years completing his internship and residency in general surgery at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, followed by a thoracic oncology clinical research fellowship in a joint-program by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Dana Faber Cancer Institute in Boston. Dr. Flores remained at Brigham and Women’s afterward to pursue a residency in cardiothoracic surgery, which he finished in 2000.
With his formal education complete, Dr. Flores worked as a surgeon in a variety of positions at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Memorial Hospital, both in New York, for the next decade.
In 2010, Dr. Flores took on two new roles: Chief of Thoracic Surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center, and the Endowed Chair in Thoracic Surgery at Icahn School of Medicine. He still holds both positions but also became the Chairman of the Department of Thoracic Surgery for Mount Sinai in 2014.
Throughout his career, Dr. Flores has participated in a dozen formal research projects, several of which focused on better understanding and treating mesothelioma. He has also written more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and has contributed to an extensive list of book chapters, abstracts, article reviews, and videos.
As a result of his vast expertise and knowledge of mesothelioma and lung cancers, Dr. Flores has given approximately 200 formal lectures and presentations at universities and symposiums across the globe. This work has taken him to dozens of foreign countries including Brazil, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, France, Tokyo, and China.
Dr. Flores’ Career Accomplishments
Dr. Raja Flores has led an accomplished career, making numerous contributions to the medical community. Dr. Flores is recognized for his work on treating mesothelioma and is considered one of the pioneers of today’s knowledge about the disease. Dr. Flores helped define the multimodal treatment approach for mesothelioma, refining treatment strategies that combined surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.
Dr. Flores is also known for establishing video-assisted lobectomies as a standard surgery for lung cancer. This minimally invasive technique is performed through three little incisions, which minimizes complications and shortens hospital stays. Early critics of the procedure were concerned that it wouldn’t be as effective as a traditional thoracotomy, which Dr. Flores disproved through two groundbreaking studies.
- Awards & Honours
- America’s Top Doctors
- America’s Top Doctors For Cancer
- Compassionate Doctors
- New York Magazine: Top Doctors
- Top Doctors: New York Metro Area
- American College of Surgeons Fellowship
- Steven and Ann Ames Professorship in Thoracic Surgery
Dr. Flores’ Current Work
Dr. Raja Flores is the current Chief of Thoracic Surgery at Mount Sinai Health System, where he oversees the treatment and care of thousands of patients each year. He concurrently teaches the next generation of surgeons as the Steven and Ann Ames Professor of Thoracic Surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine, where he is the Endowed Chair in Thoracic Surgery. Dr. Flores is also Chairman of Mount Sinai’s Department of Thoracic Surgery and on the Board of Governors for the Alumni Association of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Dr. Flores is also a member of over two dozen professional associations, including:
- American College of Surgeons Oncology Group
- American College of Chest Physicians
- American Society of Clinical Oncology
- International Society for Minimally Invasive Cardiothoracic Surgery
- Society of Surgical Oncology
- American Association of Thoracic Surgeons
- Lung Cancer Alliance
Notable Work by Dr. Flores
In this research, Dr. Flores and his team reviewed the quality of life outcome data for 523 patients who received surgery up until June 2016. Of these patients, 296 received a pleurectomy/decortication (P/D), while 102 patients received an extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP).
Six months after the surgery, all patients who received EPP or P/D were found to have impacted lung function, physical and social functioning, and symptoms. However, the study found that the patients who received P/D had higher quality of life scores than those who received EPP.
As a result, the research concluded that quality of life after surgery is better for mesothelioma patients who receive P/D. The study also noted that these quality of life indicators are an important consideration when determining surgical options, because of mesothelioma’s aggressive nature and the need for ongoing multimodality therapy.
Dr. Flores’ Healing Philosophy
“We try to treat mesothelioma here with the patient’s best interest at heart, as I’m sure everybody else does.” —Dr. Flores.
Dr. Flores uses a trimodal approach to treating most mesothelioma patients, but believes that the patients’ needs always come first. Dr. Flores and his team at Mount Sinai recognize that the right treatment for one person may not be the right treatment for another.
“What we do here is tailor the treatment to the individual patient. If you have a 35-year-old woman who’s newly married and just had a stage 2 mesothelioma diagnosis—she’d be treated very differently than an 80-year-old male who’s stuck in a wheelchair and has stage 2 mesothelioma. So, you need to treat the patient and not just the stage of the disease.” —Dr. Flores.
Dr. Flores also favors minimally invasive techniques and is an advocate for video-assisted and robotic surgery. For mesothelioma patients, he always tries to spare the lung, favouring pleurectomy/decortication whenever possible.
“Here at Sinai, what we try to do is focus in on sparing the lung, so if there is a chance to spare that person’s lung and do something called a pleurectomy/decortication, that’s what we attempt to do.” —Dr. Flores.
However, he believes there are times and cases when an extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP), which removes the lung, is the more appropriate treatment option. For example, his team would perform an EPP if the lung has already lost its ability to function, due to the spread of mesothelioma. This willingness to perform both standard mesothelioma surgeries is somewhat unique amongst mesothelioma specialists.