Dr. Frank C. Detterbeck, Chief and Surgical Director of Thoracic Surgery

Frank C. Detterbeck M.D.

Chief and Surgical Director of Thoracic Surgery

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  • Thoracic Surgery

About Dr. Detterbeck


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    Pleural and Lung Cancer

  • Research Excellence icon

    Excellence in Research

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    Team Leader

  • Minimally Invasive Surgery icon

    Minimally Invasive Surgery

An evidence-based care method, which Frank Detterbeck, M.D., calls the center of his patient care practice, guides physicians to make clinical decisions after considering scientific facts and analyses. Detterbeck’s favored approach to treatment weighs research and analyses to provide patients with the most stable and promising treatments for their conditions.

By carefully considering the unique factors and implications of each patient’s case, he strives to individualize treatment and reduce the potential for mistakes.

“We do not necessarily want to approach … [slow-growing tumors] with the same approach as the more aggressive lung cancer.”

Detterbeck further elaborated on his approach by authoring and co-authoring more than 20 chapters in “Diagnosis and Treatment of Lung Cancer: An Evidence-Based Guide for the Practicing Clinician.” In this text, he discussed topics such as clinical diagnosis, staging and adjuvant therapies for lung cancer.

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Emphasis on Minimally Invasive Procedures

As chief of Thoracic Surgery at Yale and assistant director of surgery at the Yale Cancer Center, Detterbeck has numerous opportunities to put his evidence-based medical philosophy into practice. He serves on a collaborative team that emphasizes minimally invasive procedures to address patients’ malignancies.

“There is not any one person that knows everything about a disease,” Detterbeck said.

Everybody has sort of a different chunk of it and a different view. The key thing is to get that collective brain power and judgment working, so our policy is that all major decisions … are made by the whole team.”

– Dr. Detterbeck

Detterbeck’s work has included a number of collaborate research endeavors as well, including one local and three national research grants and five funded endowments. He also serves on multiple committees, including the Thoracic Surgeons Subcommittee, the ACCP Lung Cancer Guidelines Steering Committee and the Clinical Cancer Protocol Review Committee.

Quick Fact

Detterbeck prefers a minimally invasive approach to surgery, revealing in a Yale-sponsored podcast that “We do a lot of minimally invasive resections with the video camera and very small incisions. … There are other treatments that are sometimes appropriate with taking out less than a lobe.”

Joining the team at Yale in 2005 after a long tenure with the University of North Carolina, Detterbeck was no stranger to lectures. When he was hired at Yale, Detterbeck had delivered more than 130 international, national and regional presentations and courses on various surgical topics, including a lecture in 2000 titled “Evaluation of Lung Cancer Patients: Benefits of Cooperative Assessment.”

In his first year of employment at Yale, Detterbeck appeared in Castle Connolly’s “America’s Top Doctors for Cancer.”


Authoring or contributing to over 150 articles, Detterbeck’s contribution to medical literature is broad, ranging from surgical imaging requirements to the biology of classifying cancers.

Disclaimer: Dr. Frank C. Detterbeck has no professional affiliation with Asbestos.com.

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Tim Povtak, Senior Content Writer at 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.

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