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Robert B Cameron MD

Dr. Robert Cameron

Thoracic Surgeon

Dr. Robert B. Cameron is one of the world’s most renowned pleural mesothelioma specialists currently practicing at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center in California. His most notable achievement is developing pleurectomy with decortication (P/D), the most common surgical treatment for mesothelioma. Learn more about Dr. Cameron and get our help connecting with him today.

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Meet Dr. Robert B. Cameron

As one of the leading experts on pleural mesothelioma, Dr. Robert B. Cameron is the Scientific Advisor for the Pacific Mesothelioma Center in Los Angeles. Having founded UCLA’s reputed mesothelioma program, Dr. Cameron remains an active director today.

Dr. Cameron has been treating patients for over 20 years and is credited with inventing the pleurectomy with decortication (P/D) surgery, now widely used to treat pleural mesothelioma.

He is a co-founder and former director of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, the first medical research foundation and the only nonprofit organization committed to diagnosing and treating mesothelioma. The charity has been awarded nearly $28 million in grant funding to date.

Dr. Cameron’s research has been published in various scientific research papers and academic books related to cancer treatment of the lungs. He is also the editor of Practical Oncology, an academic journal.

9 Facts About Dr. Cameron

  1. Dr. Cameron is considered one of the world’s top five doctors for mesothelioma and thoracic surgery.
  2. He works at the West Los Angeles VA and is renowned as one of the best pleural mesothelioma specialists.
  3. He developed the pleurectomy with decortication (P/D) surgery, now recognized as the most suitable operation for mesothelioma patients, allowing them to keep the affected lung.
  4. Dr. Cameron has been the Chief of the Section of Thoracic Surgery at the West L.A. Medical Center.
  5. He’s been a professor of cardiothoracic surgery and surgical oncology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA for 25 years.
  6. He was the Founding Chief of the UCLA Division of Thoracic Surgery.
  7. In 2022, Dr. Cameron was recognized as a Super Doctor of Southern California.
  8. Los Angeles Magazine awarded him the title of a top doctor of the year in 2021.
  9. He was recognized as one of America’s Top Doctors from 2007 to 2022.

Dr. Robert Cameron’s Professional Background

Dr. Cameron studied biology and medieval studies at Sanford University in 1976. In 1980, he attended medical school at the University of Michigan and UCLA, where he was elected to early membership in the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society (a high-achieving group committed to preserving the ideals of medicine) following his second year.

Upon graduating in the top 4% of his class, Dr. Cameron completed a one-year internship in surgery at UCLA School of Medicine before deciding to stay on for a five-year residency in general surgery. He fulfilled this fellowship at the National Cancer Institute, which ignited his passion for finding a cure for rare types of cancer.

Following his UCLA residency, Dr. Cameron traveled to New York to begin a two-year fellowship in Thoracic Surgery at Cornell University Medical Center.

In September 1994, he became Chief of Thoracic Surgery at UCSF in San Francisco, transferring to the same role at UCLA in 1997.

His mesothelioma program strives to extend patients’ survival rates while strongly emphasizing quality of life.

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Dr. Cameron’s Career Highlights

  • Chief of the Division of Thoracic Surgery at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center
  • Co-founder and former director of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation
  • Founder and director of UCLA’s Comprehensive Mesothelioma Program
  • Invented pleurectomy with decortication surgery for treating pleural mesothelioma

Awards & Honors

  • ACS Fellow
  • Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society – University of Michigan (top 4% of students)
  • America’s Top Doctors
  • Checkbook Top Doc
  • Southern California Super Doctors
  • Super Doctors

Dr. Robert B. Cameron’s Medical Specializations

Dr. Cameron is credited with inventing the P/D surgical procedure for mesothelioma — a lung-sparing curative surgery for pleural mesothelioma.

The procedure takes place in two parts and can last for a total of 5 hours:

  • Pleurectomy: During the pleurectomy, the surgeon opens the chest or thoracic cavity to remove the lung’s lining. This operation will relieve the symptoms of the disease and extend the patient’s life, but it will not cure the cancer.
  • Decortication: The surgeon scrapes the lung’s lining to remove as much cancer as possible, leaving the lung fully intact.

The P/D procedure was revolutionary, as it meant that the surgeon did not have to remove the lung to remove the cancerous cells — unlike the standard surgical procedure until then known as the extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP).

Not all patients are eligible to receive a P/D. However, in a study of 100 patients, P/D successfully eased chest pain, coughs, and shortness of breath while treating the pleural masses.

“In the past, surgeons removed the entire lung, and some surgeons still do. But it’s a surgery that’s more difficult to recover from. We’ve learned 30 years ago that it wasn’t necessary. After surgery, the patients can breathe well. They can’t tell the difference.”
– Dr. Robert Cameron

To be eligible, a patient must be in the early stages of pleural mesothelioma and fit enough to undergo the stress of surgery.

Dr. Cameron is one of the most qualified surgeons to perform the lung-sparing P/D procedure. He uses emerging technologies such as immunotherapy — a novel treatment that boosts the patient’s immune system — to treat his patients.

“The most important recommendation to make [to mesothelioma patients], is that you should be seen at a mesothelioma center of excellence. That is a center that generally sees a lot of these patients on an annual basis.”
– Dr. Robert Cameron

In a 2013 study by a group of medical professionals, Dr. Cameron and his fellow surgeons examined the morbidity and mortality rate for P/D and EPP treatment for malignant pleural mesothelioma. 225 patients underwent the procedures, and the results showed a higher rate of morbidity and mortality associated with the EPP compared to Dr. Cameron’s P/D method.

Current medical technologies have advanced to the point where more procedures can be performed through incision surgeries, which Dr. Cameron has historically supported because of its minimized risks and recovery.

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Pleural Mesothelioma

Dr. Cameron is one of the country’s top pleural mesothelioma specialists. His P/D method works by debulking the tumor. Although the tumor is never completely removed, the surgeon will destroy as much cancer as possible.

Like other renowned mesothelioma specialists, Dr. Cameron’s philosophy is that once mesothelioma has been resected (surgically removed), pleural mesothelioma can be managed as a chronic disease, much like diabetes.

Although it’s impossible to cure pleural mesothelioma completely, he believes it is controllable. He aims to control the disease by removing as much as possible through surgery and then minimizing the remaining tumors through chemotherapy and radiation.

“Pleural mesothelioma is a very unusual and even rare cancer. It only occurs in approximately 2,000 to 3,000 people each year in the United States. The actual true number though is not really known, because it’s not really being tracked.”
– Dr. Robert Cameron

Dr. Cameron believes in maintenance therapy for pleural mesothelioma — an ongoing, daily medication to control and keep the remaining cells at bay. His studies have proven that this method can work successfully for many years, and the patient can continue to live a relatively healthy life.

There is ongoing controversy over how pleural mesothelioma should be treated. However, compared to more radical surgeries such as an EPP, the P/D is accepted by many specialists as the most appropriate and risk-aversive procedure for patients.

Veterans Treatment

Dr. Cameron has been chief of thoracic surgery at the West Los Angeles Veterans Administration Medical Center since 1998 and is responsible for all aspects of thoracic surgical care and delivery.

The medical facility is the largest center in the VA care system and is affiliated with the UCLA School of Medicine.

Under Dr. Robert Cameron’s leadership, this VA facility rivals many of the nation’s top private hospitals for specialized mesothelioma treatment.

Connect With Dr. Robert B. Cameron

Dr. Cameron is considered one of the best mesothelioma doctors in the world. His treatment has drastically altered and improved the lives of many of his patients through his debulking and controlling treatment methods.

Through various surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, and ongoing daily medication, Dr. Cameron has managed the risks associated with pleural mesothelioma and helped patients to control the disease.

Use our Free Doctor Match to connect with top mesothelioma doctors.

Mesothelioma Hope has no affiliation with and is not endorsed or sponsored by Dr. Robert Cameron. Any contact information listed is for informational purposes only. You have the right to contact Dr. Robert Cameron 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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References
  1. Kaufman, A.J., Flores, R. M. (2010). Technique of Pleurectomy and Decortication. General Thoracic Surgery. 15(4): 294-306. Retrieved May 23, 2024, from https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/82517896.pdf

  2. LinkedIn. “Robert Cameron.” Retrieved May 23, 2024, from https://www.linkedin.com/in/robertbcameronmd

  3. Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation. “Mesothelioma ambassador representing patients participates in DoD research program review.” Retrieved May 23, 2024, from https://www.curemeso.org/2022/11/03/mesothelioma-ambassador-representing-patients-participates-in-dod-research-program-review/

  4. Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation. “Mission Statement.” Retrieved May 23, 2024, from https://www.curemeso.org/about-us/mission-statement/

  5. UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. “Robert Cameron, M.D.” Retrieved May 23, 2024, from https://people.healthsciences.ucla.edu/institution/personnel?personnel_id=8492

  6. UCLA Health. Robert B. Cameron, MD. Retrieved May 23, 2024, from https://www.uclahealth.org/providers/robert-cameron

  7. YouTube. “New Cancer Mentality: Thoracic Surgeon Dr. Robert Cameron on Mesothelioma Treatment.” Retrieved May 23, 2024, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLfu8iF6ACY

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