Dr. Raja Flores, Renowned Surgeon and Lung/Esophageal Cancer Specialist, Joins Mount Sinai Medical Center as Chief of Thoracic Surgery

Published: Sep 23, 2010

NEW YORK, Sept. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- One of the world's most prominent surgeons in the treatment of lung cancer, mesothelioma, and esophageal cancer, Raja M. Flores, M.D., has joined The Mount Sinai Medical Center as Chief of Thoracic Surgery, and as Director of the Thoracic Surgical Oncology Program at Mount Sinai's Tisch Cancer Institute. Previously a leading surgeon at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Dr. Flores, 43, is world-renowned for his technical skill in treating patients with mesothelioma, lung and esophageal cancers, and non-malignant thoracic diseases, as well as for several groundbreaking studies comparing outcomes of traditional surgeries with newer, less invasive procedures.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths for both men and women in the U.S., and among the areas of expertise that Dr. Flores brings to Mount Sinai is his extensive experience in performing VATS (Video Assisted Thoracic Surgery) lobectomy, a minimally invasive approach in the treatment of lung cancer. As opposed to traditional surgery that requires opening the chest between the ribs or often removing a rib, the VATS procedure involves making just three small incisions to access and remove diseased segments of the lung, resulting in quicker recovery and shorter hospital stays. In addition to performing hundreds of VATS lobectomies himself, Dr. Flores helped the procedure gain wider acceptance among other surgeons by publishing two sentinel papers showing no difference in survival or recurrence rates between the VATS procedure and traditional lung cancer surgery.

Dr. Flores has also been at the forefront in the treatment of mesothelioma, a rare asbestos cancer that most often develops in the mesothelial cells of tissue surrounding or lining the lungs. His landmark multi-institutional study, titled "Extrapleural Pneumonectomy versus Pleurectomy Decortication in the management of malignant pleural mesothelioma," provided statistical evidence that removing part of the pleura, or lining around the lungs, rather than the entire lung could result in longer-term survival for patients with the disease. The study has dramatically changed the surgical treatment of mesothelioma, and has been one of the most frequently cited studies from the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery for the last two years.

In addition, Dr. Flores is highly regarded for his abilities in performing esophagectomies for esophageal cancer. His experience and specialization in esophageal cancer, lung cancer and mesothelioma will add a valuable layer of expertise to The World Trade Center Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program at Mount Sinai, since those who worked on rescue and clean-up of the site could be predisposed to all three of those cancers.

"Dr. Flores will lead an established and talented team of thoracic surgeons at Mount Sinai which now includes Dr. Andrew Kaufman, a highly skilled thoracic surgeon who has also come to us from Memorial Sloan Kettering giving Mount Sinai one of, if not the strongest thoracic surgery departments in the region," said Wayne Keathley, President and Chief Operating Officer of The Mount Sinai Hospital. "Dr. Flores also joins our broader coalition of outstanding physicians and scientists across all areas of cancer research and clinical care, including incumbent staff and others we have newly recruited. These include leaders in the diagnosis and treatment of esophageal cancer, lung cancer imaging and diagnosis, radiation therapy, and a host of others. As a result, we are emerging as a clear leader in caring for patents facing mesothelioma and cancers of the esophagus or lung."

Dr. Flores is an author of more than 150 peer-reviewed manuscripts, reviews, books, and book chapters, and has given more than 100 lectures worldwide. His work has been published in numerous journals, including The Journal of Clinical Oncology, Journal of Thoracic Oncology, The Annals of Surgery, The Annals of Thoracic Surgery, and Vascular Surgery.

After earning an undergraduate degree in biochemistry from New York University, Dr. Flores attended the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, receiving his M.D. in 1992. He spent five years at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center pursuing his General Surgery Internship and General Surgery Residency; then completed a Thoracic Oncology Clinical Research Fellowship at Brigham and Women's Hospital/Dana Faber Cancer Institute/CALGB in Boston, and his Cardiothoracic Surgery Residency at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School. He also holds a Masters in Biostatistics from Columbia University.

The Mount Sinai Medical Center is a 1,171-bed, tertiary- and quaternary-care teaching facility acclaimed internationally for excellence in clinical care. Founded in 1852, The Mount Sinai Medical Center encompasses The Mount Sinai Hospital and Mount Sinai School of Medicine. In 2009, Mount Sinai Hospital treated nearly 60,000 inpatients and handled close to 530,000 outpatient visits. The hospital ranks among the nation's top 20 hospitals in the U.S. News & World Report 2009-2010 "America's Best Hospitals" issue. More information on Mount Sinai Hospital is available at www.mountsinai.org.

SOURCE The Mount Sinai Medical Center

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