Mesothelioma specialist Dr. Joseph Friedberg was appointed the new Thoracic Surgeon-in-Chief of Temple University Health System and the affiliated Fox Chase Cancer Center. He will focus on treatment of pleural mesothelioma patients in his new role, after working at the University of Maryland Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Dr. Friedberg’s other titles at Temple Health include:

  • Vice Chair of Surgical Services for the Department of Thoracic Medicine and Surgery
  • Professor of Thoracic Medicine and Surgery at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University
  • Co-Director of the Temple Health Mesothelioma and Pleural Disease Program

Dr. Friedberg’s interests include mesothelioma, along with other health issues in the pleural cavity, which is where pleural mesothelioma forms. He also treats advanced lung cancer and other thoracic malignancies. According to his doctor profile, he is funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and National Science Foundation (NSF) for his mesothelioma and artificial lung research.

“Dr. Friedberg is an exceptional physician-leader and we are thrilled to bring his expertise to Temple, further strengthening an already highly accomplished clinical team,” stated Michael Young, President and CEO of Temple University Health System, in the press release announcing the staff addition.

 

Dr. Friedberg Returns to His Stomping Grounds

Dr. Friedberg, originally from the Philadelphia area, returned home to begin his journey as Thoracic Surgeon-in-Chief at Temple Health.

Dr. Friedberg spent the last six years in Baltimore at the University of Maryland Medical System as Thoracic Surgeon-in-Chief and Director of the Mesothelioma and Thoracic Oncology Treatment and Research Center. He was given the opportunity to return to Philadelphia with an impressive title.

Dr. Friedberg grew up in a suburb of Philadelphia and graduated with honors from the University of Pennsylvania, paving the way for his success at Harvard Medical School. Upon graduation from Harvard Medical, Dr. Friedberg went on to complete his postdoctoral training at Boston area facilities. His fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital is where he found and pursued his calling in thoracic surgery.

The mesothelioma specialist has spent most of his career as a surgeon in Philadelphia. He has been an accomplished Attending Thoracic Surgeon since 1996. Now, as he holds his second position as Thoracic Surgeon-in-Chief, Dr. Friedberg has much insight to offer the Temple Health and Fox Chase teams’ advanced research and various treatments.

“My practice philosophy is to treat every patient with the same respect, thoughtfulness, and commitment that I would want for myself or a family member,” Dr. Friedberg says in his doctor profile on the Temple Health website. “I believe every patient has unique aspects to their case and, therefore, every treatment plan must be carefully, and thoroughly, individualized.”

He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, the Board of the International Mesothelioma Interest Group and the Mesothelioma Committee for the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer.

Along with his remarkable resume of leadership and board positions, he is also on the forefront of artificial lung research. This development could be monumental for patients undergoing extrapleural pneumonectomy surgery – a procedure that removes the entire mesothelioma-affected lung.

 

Mesothelioma Treatment at Fox Chase Cancer Center

Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the top cancer centers in the country. Due to its physicians’ dedication to treat cancer, the cancer center has gained recognition from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) as a Comprehensive Cancer Center. Fox Chase offers multiple options of peritoneal and pleural mesothelioma treatment.

Dr. Joseph Friedberg focuses on diseases and disorders of the lungs and has been integral in breakthrough research and developments in his field. He has become one of the most outstanding surgeons in the mesothelioma treatment field – specifically pleural mesothelioma. With the collaboration of Dr. Friedberg and the surgical team at Fox Chase, advancements in pleural mesothelioma treatment are not far-fetched.

Pleural Mesothelioma Treatment

Pleural mesothelioma is a cancer of the pleura and is caused by inhaling asbestos fibers into the lungs. The pleura is the lining between the chest wall and lung cavity. When properly functioning, its job is to allow optimal expansion and contraction of the lungs during breathing. Pleural mesothelioma accounts for 70% to 80% of all mesothelioma cases and is mostly caused by occupational exposure to asbestos.

Fox Chase Cancer Center offers many treatment options for pleural mesothelioma – such as pleural catheter placement, surgeries, systemic therapy, radiation therapy and interventional pulmonology.

“Pleural mesothelioma has traditionally been considered a lethal disease. At Fox Chase, we are specialists in rare diseases, especially pleural mesothelioma,” says Dr. Stacey Su, a colleague of Dr. Friedberg.

One of Dr. Friedberg’s speciality is pleural mesothelioma. He’s even researching the benefits of an artificial lung to potentially save pleural mesothelioma patients from “losing” a lung. The collaboration between such a highly recognized institution and Dr. Friedberg will bring opportunities to enhance the already-advanced treatments offered by Fox Chase Cancer Center for pleural mesothelioma.

 

Pleural Catheter Placement

A treatment option offered at Fox Chase is pleural catheter placement, which helps drain fluid from the lungs. The catheter can be drained a few times a week from the comfort of your own home. There are several options for the placement of the pleural catheter. This procedure can be performed by your surgeon under light sedation or anesthesia.

 

Surgery

Fox Chase provides two surgery options to combat pleural mesothelioma: extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) and pleurectomy/decortication (P/D). The purpose of these surgeries is to remove the mesothelioma-affected tissue. As a pleural mesothelioma surgeon, this task is right up Dr. Friedberg’s alley.

Extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) is the more invasive procedure of the two, but it sometimes is the most effective. If combined with chemotherapy and/or radiation, EPP optimizes the chances of removing all cancerous cells or tumors.

This operation involves removing the entire mesothelioma-affected lung, the chest wall lining, portions of the diaphragm and potentially the lining of the heart. This procedure is most fitting if the tumor has rooted itself deep into the lung tissue – complicating the tumor-removal process.

Although EPP optimizes the chances of remission, it is a highly complex surgery that can only be performed by highly experienced surgeons – like Dr. Joseph Friedberg – in specialized cancer centers like Fox Chase.

Mesothelioma pleurectomy/decortication (P/D) is also known as “lung-sparing” surgery. This option is less complex and invasive than the EPP operation.

Pleurectomy involves removing the outer half of the pleural lining, the lining of the heart and the diaphragm. Decortication is the second procedure in this two-in-one surgery and removes the inner pleural lining – stripping it off of the surface of the lungs – and all visible tumors in the chest cavity.

Chemotherapy and/or radiation are often suggested post-operation to kill any cancer cells that may not have been visible during surgery. The P/D procedure involves the same region as EPP but is far less intense since the lung is spared.

 

Systemic Therapy

Fox Chase Cancer Center’s team of expert oncologists guide patients through a treatment plan curated specifically for their needs. Systemic therapies, such as immunotherapy or chemotherapy, are typically recommended to patients with advanced mesothelioma when the cancer is no longer contained to the lungs or chest cavity.

 

Radiation Therapy

Radiation is therapy that uses high-energy beams to kill cancer cells and is administered with imaging to track the lining of the lungs throughout breathing to ensure that the therapy will conclude optimal results. Radiation is often used as part of a multimodal treatment for patients who are eligible for surgery and are suggested to undergo chemotherapy after their operation. Radiation is not only offered to patients as multimodal treatment, but is also frequently recommended to patients with advanced pleural mesothelioma as a palliative treatment.

 

Interventional Pulmonology

Interventional pulmonology consists of non-surgical, minimally invasive procedures used to diagnose and treat lung cancers like pleural mesothelioma. The specialists at Fox Chase use advanced techniques to treat and drain excess fluid build up in the lungs – a symptom often associated with pleural mesothelioma.

Dr. Friedberg’s expertise, along with Fox Chase’s extensive pleural mesothelioma treatments, can help people diagnosed with mesothelioma find solace in the institution’s dedication to advancements in mesothelioma. Fox Chase has many resources and trusted physicians to assist patients in navigating their mesothelioma diagnosis.

Temple Health selected one of the most qualified and experienced surgeons to join their team of specialists. This partnership between Dr. Friedberg, Temple Health and Fox Chase will be a cornerstone for advancements in mesothelioma treatment.

    Sources & Author

    Dr. Joseph Friedberg Named Thoracic Surgeon-in-Chief of Temple University Health System. Temple Health. Retrieved from: https://www.templehealth.org/about/news/dr-joseph-friedberg-named-thoracic-surgeon-in-chief-of-temple-university-health-system. Accessed: 03/24/2022.

    Joseph Friedberg, MD, FACS. Fox Chase Cancer Center Temple Health. Retrieved from: https://www.foxchase.org/joseph-friedberg. Accessed: 03/24/2022

    Peritoneal Mesothelioma Treatment. Fox Chase Cancer Center Temple Health. Retrieved from: https://www.foxchase.org/clinical-care/conditions/mesothelioma/treatment/peritoneal-mesothelioma. Accessed: 03/29/2022

    Pleural Mesothelioma Treatment. Fox Chase Cancer Center Temple Health. Retrieved from: https://www.foxchase.org/clinical-care/conditions/mesothelioma/treatment/pleural-mesothelioma Accessed: 03/30/2022

Camryn Keeble image

About the Writer, Camryn Keeble

Camryn Keeble is a content writer and community outreach member for Mesothelioma Guide. She creates mesothelioma-related content for the Mesothelioma Guide website. Camryn's goal is to decipher advanced information regarding mesothelioma into informative, simplified content to educate those affected by mesothelioma. She also works diligently to raise awareness of mesothelioma and its effects on patients and their loved ones by participating in daily outreach.

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    Sources & Author

Picture of Camryn Keeble

About the Writer, Camryn Keeble

Camryn Keeble is a content writer and community outreach member for Mesothelioma Guide. She creates mesothelioma-related content for the Mesothelioma Guide website. Camryn's goal is to decipher advanced information regarding mesothelioma into informative, simplified content to educate those affected by mesothelioma. She also works diligently to raise awareness of mesothelioma and its effects on patients and their loved ones by participating in daily outreach.