Dr. Flores is proud of his working class background. He feels that the years he spent working odd jobs to support himself while attending school, not only taught him the value of hard work but also helped him connect with his mesothelioma patients, many of whom have a humble, blue collar background.
Currently the director of thoracic surgical oncology at Mount Sinai Medical Center, Dr. Flores enjoys the distinction of being one of the country’s top surgeons who regularly performs both the extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) and the pleurectomy with decortication (P/D).
Medical Degree and Residency
Graduated MD Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in 1992.
In 1997, Dr. Flores completed his residency at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center.
Steven and Ann Ames Professor of Thoracic Surgery at Mount Sinai
He went to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and participated in 2-year thoracic surgery fellowship where he enjoyed the mentorship of Dr. David Sugarbaker.
- He’s Mount Sinai’s mesothelioma program director
- Lead investigator of key study on EPP vs. P/D
- Garnered experience from top cancer centers throughout the United States
Dr. Flores’ Research
Dr. Flores feels that many doctors make a mistake when they focus their attention on the disease rather than on their individual patient. It is his belief that “You need to treat the patient and not just the stage of the disease.”
Although he’ll use aggressive surgical tactics when needed in a treatment, whenever possible, he prefers to keep his mesothelioma treatments as minimally invasive as possible. Although he has seen the great results that EPP surgery can be, he doesn’t think it should be considered a cure-all. His desire to find less invasive treatments is what fuels his clinical research.
Settling the EPP vs. P/D Debate
Dr. Flores was the principal investigator in a clinical trial that spanned 16 years and involved 663 patients. Some of these patients had EPP while others had P/D surgery.
At the end of the 16-year trial, the results indicated that radical pleurectomy with decortication could be effectively used to treat mesothelioma as EPP surgery. The results of the study are still being debated within the mesothelioma community.
When questioned, Dr. Flores says there are merits to both types of surgery and it’s the patient, not the disease, that should dictate which type of surgery should be used for treating cancer.
Learning from the Libby Program
One of the programs that are near and dear to Dr. Flores is the Libby Epidemiology Research Program (LERP). The program was created and funded by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
The hope is that the program will help the people who live in Libby and inhaled asbestos fibers while they were employees of W.R. Grace Company. Dr. Flores hopes that the data collected in Libby will help the medical community understand why some people develop mesothelioma while others don’t.