VA Houston Health Care System

1600 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, California 94115

The VA Houston Health Care System is the newest VA medical center to offer mesothelioma treatment with top specialists and advanced treatment options. Veterans with mesothelioma can go to the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center for specialized care.

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Pleural Mesothelioma and

Peritoneal Mesothelioma

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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center

1600 Divisadero Street

San Francisco, California

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Dr. Lorraine Cornwell

Dr. Eugene Choi

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More About Mesothelioma Treatment Through VA Houston Health Care

VA Houston Health Care is known by two other names in regards to mesothelioma care:

  • Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center
  • Houston VA Medical Center

Mesothelioma patients visiting the VA Houston Health Care System will receive high-end medical care not offered for this cancer at most VA hospitals. The only other two VA medical centers with mesothelioma treatment programs are the Boston VA Medical Center and Los Angeles VA Medical Center.

The Houston VA Medical Center features three mesothelioma specialists who all work full time at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center and the Dan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center. Two of the specialists focus on pleural mesothelioma while one treats peritoneal mesothelioma.

Dr. Lorraine Cornwell is Section Head of General Thoracic Surgery at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center. She’s the primary doctor veterans will see if they have mesothelioma near the lungs.

The Houston VA Medical Center began treating veterans cases of mesothelioma in 2020. It is the newest facility to start a mesothelioma program specifically for veterans.

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Experienced Mesothelioma Specialists

    • Dr. Taylor Ripley, Director of Mesothelioma Treatment Center at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center
    • Dr. Lorraine Cornwell, Section Head of General Thoracic Surgery at Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center
    • Dr. Eugene Choi, Surgical Oncologist at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center and the Houston VA
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    • Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center
    • Baylor College of Medicine
    • Dan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center
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Treatment Specialties

    • Pleurectomy/decortication surgery
    • Extrapleural pneumonectomy surgery
    • Cytoreduction surgery with HIPEC
    • Chemotherapy
    • Immunotherapy

Get Connected to VA Houston Health Care System

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The VA Houston Health Care System is one of just three VA medical systems offering personalized care for mesothelioma. The Houston VA medical center works with three doctors from Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center and the Dan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center. This partnership provides veterans with next-level medical attention for their rare cancer.

Why Choose Houston VA Medical Center?

  • Surgery available for each main type of mesothelioma
  • VA health benefits cover patient costs in most cases
  • Doctors with experience treating veterans with cancer


Urgent Need for More Mesothelioma VA Medical Centers

Veterans are the most likely group to get mesothelioma (outside of age or gender). Up to 3,000 people in the United States learn each year from a doctor that they have malignant mesothelioma cancer. Around 30% of these cases involve veterans.

Asbestos was a prominent aspect of military service. Tanks, aircraft, barracks and ships were constructed with the durable substance, and foreign military service led to asbestos exposure from houses and other buildings.

The prevalence of veterans mesothelioma cases explains the need for VA medical centers with mesothelioma treatment and doctors. Each coast has a center for veterans, but a lot of patients not near Los Angeles or Boston were left with no option.

Houston’s VA Medical Center provides a medical facility to all veterans in Texas or neighboring states.

Doctors Experienced Working With Veterans

Dr. Cornwell has more than a decade of experience treating veterans with thoracic cancers. She described herself as “very experienced with how the VA works,” which is a benefit for veterans needing to go through the VA health care process. Her focus is pleural mesothelioma.

Dr. Cornwell said that pleurectomy/decortication surgery will be offered for pleural mesothelioma patients.

Dr. Eugene Choi is the primary care provider for veterans with peritoneal mesothelioma, or mesothelioma of the abdomen. He leads treatment for patients wanting cytoreductive surgery with heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) for peritoneal mesothelioma cases.

Dr. Taylor Ripley oversees treatment at the VA medical center as Director of Mesothelioma Treatment at Baylor St. Luke’s.

“The first step before any standard treatment is a full evaluation,” Dr. Ripley said. “A true evaluation takes about two weeks to get all the appropriate testing.

“Once we have all that information, we see the patient again … and try to lay out a treatment plan moving forward.”

Veterans Advocate Can Help You Go to the Houston VA

Carl Jewett is a retired lieutenant commander of the U.S. Navy. He served in the brand for more than two decades and now dedicates his professional life to helping veterans apply for financial benefits and receive VA health care treatment. If you’re a veteran or the loved one of a veteran and hoping to visit the Houston VA medical center for treatment, Carl Jewett is the best ally for helping you see the specialist team at the center.

Commander Jewett’s email is Another option is to request a free Veterans Guide packet in the mail. This packet has detailed information on all of the VA centers offering mesothelioma care.

Sources & Author

    1. VA Houston health care. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Retrieved from: Accessed: 04/13/2022.
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About the Writer, Karen Ritter, RN BSN

Karen Ritter, a registered nurse, is the lead patient advocate for Mesothelioma Guide. She has a deep passion for patient care, which includes helping patients and their families search for treatment options at the top mesothelioma cancer centers. She finds the balance between encouraging patients to receive the best treatment possible while enjoying their time with loved ones and friends. Karen is a valuable asset for patients due to her knowledge of mesothelioma, compassion for the victims of this disease and dedication to guiding patients through their treatment journey.