Board Certified in Thoracic and Cardiac Surgery
Pleural and Lung Cancer
20+ Years of Experience
Sommers offers an individualized approach to treatment.
His experience with mesothelioma is invaluable. His surgical skills are impressive. His philosophy is refreshing.
“Part of what I do is just plain, old-fashioned doctoring,” Sommers said. “I’m available. If a patient needs me or has questions for me, they will get me. There are no layers blocking access. I will follow them [patients] as long as necessary.”Sommers spent 10 years at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), where he worked with renowned mesothelioma surgeon Dr. Rodney Landreneau. He spent another 14 years at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, where he served as president of the medical staff.
He performs the extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) and pleurectomy/decortication (P/D), along with minimally invasive, thoracoscopic procedures designed for palliation.
“Mesothelioma is a very challenging, very difficult disease. When a patient comes to me, it’s like we’re starting a journey together. Often they are in a state of confusion. They can be terrified,” he said. “Part of my job at first is just listening, to learn what’s important to them as we move forward.”
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He is a firm believer in the multidisciplinary approach to mesothelioma treatment, which includes surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, but he also understands the strain on a patient when trying to do everything at one specialty center. The majority of patients do not live close enough.Sommers has developed a network of radiation and medical oncologists throughout Florida that he works with closely, allowing his patients to receive much of their care close to their home, wherever that may be. “It is a hardship for many patients to travel long distance for care. That has to be part of the equation. Multidisciplinary care is essential, but it’s not necessarily synonymous with a large institution,” he said. “My patients can get the best treatment and in a convenient manner.” He speaks often about the quality of life subject with patients, but he also has developed an ability to listen and comprehend, letting patients determine the best course for their care. “Quality of life means different things to different patients. It could mean surviving long enough to see a particular event. For others, it could mean the absence of pain. And to some, it means going down fighting like Rocky,” he said. “Part of my job is discussing with a patient what he wants. You have to understand what he or she is telling you.”
Disclaimer: Dr. Eric Sommers has no professional affiliation with Asbestos.com.
Tim Povtak is an award-winning writer with more than 30 years of reporting national and international news. His specialty is interviewing top mesothelioma specialists and researchers, reporting the latest news at mesothelioma cancer centers and talking with survivors and caregivers. Read More