Dr. Paul H. Sugarbaker

Dr. Paul Sugarbaker is one of the leading specialists currently treating peritoneal mesothelioma. His preferred form of treatment is a highly effective combination of cytoreductive surgery and heated chemotherapy that has been dubbed the Sugarbaker Procedure.

In 1967 Dr. Paul Sugarbaker graduated from Cornell University Medical College with his medical degree, after which he went to Peter Bent Brigham and Women’s Hospital Surgery and completed his residency program.

Following his residency, Paul Sugarbaker devoted his time to researching peritoneal mesothelioma. His efforts led him to the development of the Sugarbaker Procedure, a life-saving treatment.

In 1989, Sugarbaker’s accomplishments led him to an appointment as the Director of Surgical Oncology at the Washington Cancer Institute, a position he continues to hold. Today, he’s accepted as one of the leading peritoneal mesothelioma specialists and has extended the lives of countless patients.

Dr. Paul Sugarbaker is the director of the Center for Surgical Oncology at the Washington Cancer Institute, Washington Hospital Center, in Washington, D.C. where he is considered the leading surgeon treating patients with peritoneal mesothelioma.

During the course of his career, Dr. Paul Sugarbaker has:

  • Pioneered his groundbreaking treatment, the Sugarbaker Procedure
  • Helped create the International Society of Regional Cancer Therapy
  • Has won several awards for his contributions in the field of peritoneal mesothelioma research
  • Created the Foundation for Applied Research in Gastrointestinal Oncology

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What Patients of Dr. Paul Sugarbaker Can Expect

Dr. Sugarbaker spent years researching and developing his world renowned Sugarbaker Procedure. When he first embarked on his medical career, a diagnosis of abdominal cancer was considered terminal and doctors focused on keeping their patients comfortable rather than on trying to cure the cancer. Sugarbaker’s research and treatment program changed everything. The Sugarbaker Procedure has routinely added an additional 3 years to the lives of patients who received the treatment, and in some cases lived 7 years longer than originally expected. Many have gone into remission.

There’s nothing simple about the Sugarbaker Procedure. Removing any visible tumors requires opening the abdominal cavity and surgically removing the tumors from the abdominal lining and other organs. The procedure also used heated chemotherapy drugs which remove microscopic cancerous cells that weren’t removed during the surgery. While there was controversy surrounding Sugarbaker’s use of the heated chemotherapy drugs, the medical community has admitted that it’s an important part of the Sugarbaker Procedure’s success.

How the Sugarbaker Procedure Works


The first step of the Sugarbaker Procedure is the surgery which removes the abdominal lining. The surgeon also examines the rest of the organs for signs of cancerous tissue and removes any tumors they find. The earlier the cancer is detected, the less extreme the surgery will be. It is not unusual for the cytoreduction to take up to 10 hours.

HIPEC (Heated Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy)

Following the surgery, patients using the Sugarbaker Procedure start the heated chemotherapy portion of the treatment. The drugs are applied directly to the abdomen and it takes about 90 minutes to complete.

Patient Experience

Patients who have been diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma patients are very grateful to Dr. Sugarbaker. The Sugarbaker procedure has without a doubt added many years to several patients lives.

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