About Dr. Holbrook
Dr. Holbrook received his surgical training in the eastern U.S. before settling in Washington state. He now focuses solely on abdominal cancers and is one of the top mesothelioma surgeons in the country.
Peritoneal mesothelioma patients from the Pacific Northwest and around the United States have sought out Dr. Holbrook for surgical treatment, as surgery is the only curative option available. Depending on the cancer stage and other factors, cytoreduction with heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) is allowing patients to live longer than was ever possible.
On how these medical advancements have impacted his patients’ lives, Dr. Holbrook says:
“We can have a long-term cure rate of anywhere from 75 to 90%, versus before it wasn’t very good at all.”
Dr. Holbrook is also known for treating every patient as a unique person to determine the best possible treatment plan for each case. Through his work as Practice President at Cancer Care Northwest in Tacoma, WA, Dr. Holbrook considers not only the medical aspects of a patient’s case but also provides emotional and financial support for patients and their family.
This comprehensive approach to treating peritoneal mesothelioma has made Dr. Holbrook much in demand as a surgeon in the Pacific Northwest.
Dr. Holbrook’s Location
Mesothelioma patients can work with Dr.Holbrook by contacting him through:
Cancer Care Northwest
601 S Sherman Street
Spokane, WA 99202
Dr. Holbrook’s Career Highlights
Dr. Holbrook’s career of over 20 years as a cancer surgeon has led to significant contributions to mesothelioma research and treatment, including:
- Pioneered use of heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) for peritoneal mesothelioma treatment
- Introduced radiofrequency ablation (RFA) treatment at Cancer Care Northwest to kill cancer cells using heat and energy
- Helped develop a world-class cancer treatment center with an integrated care model
- Is currently the only peritoneal mesothelioma specialist in the Pacific Northwest
Dr. Holbrook’s Background
Dr. Holbrook received his education at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. After an internship at New England Medical Center, he went on to complete general surgical residencies at Tufts Medical Center in Boston and Maine Medical Center in Portland.
He has since honed his surgical skills and gained valuable experience through several fellowships around the country, including:
- Roswell Park Cancer Institute (America’s first cancer center)
- Virginia Mason Medical Center (with its premier Cancer Institute in Seattle)
- Massachusetts General Hospital (designated by the National Cancer Institute as a comprehensive cancer center)
Dr. Holbrook has spent over the last 20 years in Spokane, Washington as a surgical oncologist specializing in abdominal cancers, including peritoneal mesothelioma. For the past 15 years, he has worked with Cancer Care Northwest where he introduced several important procedures like cytoreduction with HIPEC and radiofrequency ablation.
In addition to his groundbreaking treatment for mesothelioma patients, Dr. Holbrook is on record for having treated 27 cancers and conditions using a wide range of procedures, allowing him to master skills that further inform his work in the mesothelioma field.
Dr. Holbrook’s Medical Specializations
Dr. Holbrook is a certified surgical oncologist specializing in peritoneal mesothelioma cancer. He is the only surgeon in the Pacific Northwest qualified to treat the disease and has worked with countless patients within the region and beyond.
Dr. Holbrook pioneered cytoreduction with HIPEC surgery in the area. The average life expectancy of peritoneal mesothelioma is 1 year. But surgery with HIPEC treatment has proven to extend patients’ lives by another 4 or 5 years—and sometimes 10 years or longer.
Cytoreduction with HIPEC is a 2-part surgical treatment. First, the surgical team removes visible tumors in the abdominal lining. Then after the surgery is complete, the team bathes the abdominal cavity with a heated chemotherapy solution that kills remaining cancer cells.
“The heat is important. The heat kills cancer cells, but it also helps in a sense [to] open the pores of the tissue so the chemo will penetrate a little bit further.” — Dr. Ryan Holbrook
Cytoreduction with HIPEC is a complex pair of procedures that require a highly skilled and experienced surgeon. Depending on the tumor locations, the surgeon may have to move organs for better access and cut away cancerous parts.The entire operation takes 10 hours or longer.
Dr. Holbrook is also credited with introducing radiofrequency ablation in the Pacific Northwest. RFA is an effective treatment for malignant mesothelioma that uses radiofrequency heat in a targeted approach to kill cancer cells. RFA is sometimes used as part of a multimodal treatment or when the patient is not healthy enough to withstand a rigorous surgery.
Dr. Holbrook’s Career Accomplishments
Dr. Holbrook has achieved remarkable accomplishments in his career as a cancer surgeon. He has not only extended his patients’ lives with cytoreduction with HIPEC treatment and radiofrequency ablation, but has introduced those procedures in the Pacific Northwest for other surgical oncologists to master.
“It saved my life. It can improve a lot of people’s [lives], and we have someone right here in Spokane doing it.” — Successful HIPEC Patient, Washington State
During his 15 years at Cancer Care Northwest in Tacoma, Dr. Holbrook has helped develop an integrated cancer care center that treats each patient as a unique individual. Dr. Holbrook and the center’s staff ensure families are emotionally supported during their difficult time.
Awards and Honors
- American College of Surgeons Fellow
- Best Doctors in America® List selection
- Society of Surgical Oncology fellowship-trained member
- Fellowship – Massachusetts General Hospital
- Fellowship – Roswell Park Cancer Institute
- Fellowship – Virginia Mason Medical Center
Dr. Holbrook’s Current Work
Dr. Holbrook is currently serving a 2-year term as Practice President at Cancer Care Northwest, where he applies “the unique comprehensive, innovative, compassionate and integrated approach to beating cancer.”
He continues to focus on abdominal cancer surgeries using the techniques he pioneered while keeping watch for innovative new treatments that he can offer to his patients. Dr. Holbrook is affiliated with Deaconess Hospital and Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and Children’s Hospital in Spokane, Washington.
Dr. Holbrook’s Healing Philosophy
Peritoneal mesothelioma is a rare form of the disease, which allows Dr. Holbrook to look closely at each patient’s case and tailor the treatment plan specifically for that person. The stage of cancer, tumor location and the patient’s overall health all have an impact on how Dr. Holbrook performs the surgery.
“Each patient is treated as an individual and given the best possible surgical treatment for their cancer. I believe that supporting each person we treat physically, psychologically and spiritually is an essential part of healing.” — Dr. Ryan Holbrook
Dr. Holbrook’s home at Cancer Care Northwest echoes the importance of all-around compassionate care. “From chemotherapy, surgery and radiation, to dietary consultations, lab work, and financial and emotional support, we provide the comprehensive services you and your family need to fight your cancer, restore hope and heal—all under one roof.”