Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that few doctors specialize in treating. Most cases develop in the lining of the lungs – known as pleural mesothelioma – and this has become a special interest for Vallieres.
One of the surgeries he is qualified to perform is an extrapleural pneumonectomy, which is used for pleural mesothelioma patients.
In addition, Vallieres often uses a trimodality approach when treating mesothelioma. This method combines the use of several treatments, such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Many patients have experienced prolonged life expectancies after receiving trimodality treatment.
Vallieres makes an especially strong effort to treat each patient to their specific needs. “To find the right treatment for each individual that we meet and see, it’s an exercise every single time,” he said. Every single time you have to go down the algorithm and make sure you are taking this particular patient down the right path.”
He also places an emphasis on making sure patients fully understand their treatment and all available options going forward. Vallieres enjoys the team doctor approach that is supported at the Swedish Cancer Institute.
“As a surgeon, I think if you spend the time in that first encounter to explain things very meticulously, every step of the process and explain to them what the options are, we can individualize their treatment so that I can offer him or her the treatment that he or she deserves.”
Vallieres has served as the surgical director at the Swedish Cancer Institute since 2004.
Vallieres’ publications appear in journals such as the American Journal of Surgery and the Journal of Clinical Oncology; most of his manuscripts discuss chemotherapy’s role in treating cancer. In 2009 he discussed mesothelioma-specific trimodality therapy in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery.