Dr. Joseph Friedberg

Co-Director of Temple Health Mesothelioma and Pleural Disease Program at Temple University Health System

Dr. Joseph Friedberg co-leads pleural mesothelioma treatment at Temple University Health System, which includes the Fox Chase Cancer Center. He champions pleurectomy with decortication surgery (P/D) and photodynamic therapy.

Dr. Joseph Friedberg

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Pleural Mesothelioma

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Fox Chase Cancer Center

333 Cottman Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19111


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More Information About Mesothelioma Specialist Dr. Joseph Friedberg

Dr. Friedberg is a pleural mesothelioma specialist with a clinical focus on mesothelioma, lung cancer, chest wall tumors, pulmonary metastasis and pneumothorax. His official titles at Temple University Health System are Thoracic Surgeon-in-Chief and Co-Director of the Temple Health Mesothelioma and Pleural Disease Program.

His surgical prevalence with mesothelioma focuses on P/D, which keeps both lungs in the body. Dr. Friedberg is a proponent of using photodynamic therapy with surgery.

Job Change in 2022 to Temple University Health System

Dr. Friedberg joined the Temple University Health System in February of 2022 after working as a thoracic surgeon at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. His work included seeing pleural mesothelioma patients through the University of Maryland Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Dr. Friedberg now sees patients through the Temple University Hospital main campus and Fox Chase Cancer Center, both in Philadelphia. His cancer-related responsibilities also include serving as Vice Chair of Surgical Services for the Department of Thoracic Medicine and Surgery. He’s also a Professor of Thoracic Medicine and Surgery at Temple University’s Lewis Katz School of Medicine.

“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.

His past includes being a specialist at multiple other cancer centers, and his experience spans more than three decades. Dr. Friedberg worked at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, which is part of the University of Pennsylvania Health System. He was Chief of Thoracic Surgery and co-director of the Penn Mesothelioma and Pleural Disease Program.

Aside from being a thoracic surgeon at the University of Maryland Cancer Center, he was a professor of surgery and the head of the Division of Thoracic Surgery at University of Maryland School of Medicine. He also previously taught thoracic surgery at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He has been recognized regularly as a Best Doctor of America since 2009.

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Medical Degrees and Residencies

    • Medical Degree from Harvard Medical School in Boston, 1986
    • Research fellowship at Harvard Medical School, 1985
    • Internship in Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, 1987
    • Residency in General Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, 1989
    • Research fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital, 1991
    • Residency in General Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, 1994
    • Fellowship in Cardiothoracic Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, 1996
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Certifications and Memberships

    • Memberships in the American Association of Thoracic Surgeons, American College of Chest Physicians and American Society of Clinical Oncology, Scientific Advisory Board for the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, Board of the International Mesothelioma Interest Group, and Mesothelioma Committee for the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer

Get Connected to Dr. Joseph Friedberg

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Dr. Joseph Friedberg is a pleurectomy/decortication surgeon. He works at Temple University Health System and Fox Chase Cancer Center, where he co-leads treatment of pleural mesothelioma. His career started 35 years ago with a Medical Degree at Harvard.

Why Choose Dr. Friedberg?

  • Proponent of a novel therapy: photodynamic therapy
  • Discovery of specific lymph nodes to remove during surgery
  • Led mesothelioma programs at multiple cancer centers

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Pioneer of Photodynamic Therapy for Mesothelioma

Dr. Friedberg’s research included developing a photodynamic therapy (PDT) for malignant mesothelioma cells. This treatment is a photosensitive drug which kills cancer cells after being exposed to a light beam. PDT could be used before or after surgery.

He tested PDT with pleurectomy/decortication surgery on 14 patients and reached a four-year survival rate of 80%, which is impressive considering the median survival for pleural mesothelioma is 1-2 years. The study was held at University of Pennsylvania’s Abramson Cancer Center.

Dr. Friedberg’s specialties include P/D and EPP surgery for pleural mesothelioma. He also performs pleural catheter placement, which drains fluid from the lungs.

Lymph Nodes in Rib Cage Discovery

Dr. Friedberg also discovered the importance of lymph nodes in the rib cage. The lymph nodes in this area can carry metastatic cells, making complete surgery difficult if they’re not removed.

“Although larger studies are needed, we believe that these lymph nodes should routinely be removed during any surgery with therapeutic intent for malignant pleural mesothelioma, especially as they may be the only lymph nodes to harbor metastatic disease,” Dr. Friedberg said.

Returning Home to Philadelphia

Dr. Friedberg’s arrival at Temple Health is a homecoming of sorts. He 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.

“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.”

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.

Connect With Dr. Friedberg at Temple University Health System

Dr. Friedberg’s prestige matches with the prestige of Temple University Health System and the Fox Chase Cancer Center. You or your loved one can begin a conversation with him about treatment options.

Our team can help you with the first steps of this process. Email our registered nurse, Karen Ritter, at karen@mesotheliomaguide.com. Another resource is completing a Doctor Match form on our website. This free resource helps us match you with doctors based on your diagnosis, location and more specifics.

Sources & Author

Devin Golden

About the Writer, Devin Golden

Devin Golden is the senior content writer for Mesothelioma Guide. He produces mesothelioma-related content on various mediums, including the Mesothelioma Guide website and social media channels. Devin's objective is to translate complex information regarding mesothelioma into informative, easily absorbable content to help patients and their loved ones.