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Dr. John Mitchell

Dr. John Mitchell

Chief, General Thoracic Surgery; Professor, Cardiothoracic Surgery

Dr. John Mitchell was recruited to the University of Colorado School of Medicine to become the cancer center’s chief of general thoracic surgery in 2002, starting a very successful relationship.

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About John Mitchell

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    Pleural and Lung Cancer

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    Excellence in Research

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    Team Leader

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    Minimally Invasive Surgery

Dr. John Mitchell’s national reputation, and that of the school, has grown considerably ever since.

Mitchell was awarded the first Endowed Chair in the Department of Surgery in 2006. He received the University of Colorado Hospital Pioneer Award in 2011 for his outstanding vision, leadership and commitment to patients.

At both the University Hospital and the Denver Veterans Administration Medical Center, Mitchell has flourished with a surgical focus on lung cancer, lung transplantation and other lung diseases.

His clinical interests include esophageal surgery, minimally invasive thoracic surgery, and surgery of the airways. He also does advanced thoracoscopic surgery including VATS lobectomy, and robotic thoracic surgery.

He has authored or co-authored several articles, including one in Lung Cancer Frontiers, a popular forum used to disseminate knowledge about the latest diagnostic and treatment advances.

In the 2011 spring edition, Mitchell wrote an opinion story entitled “Limited Resection for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer,” in which he challenged the long-held belief – based on a 1995 study – that all medically fit patients with Stage IA lung cancer can benefit from an anatomic lobectomy.

“The use of anatomic lobectomy as a one size fits all treatment for stage IA lung cancer, based on the results of a single randomized clinical trial, may be excessive,” he wrote in the summery.

Quick Fact:

As part of his residency, Dr. Mitchell served as a Registrar in Cardiothoracic Surgery in Liverpool, England.

Multi-Disciplinary Approach

Mitchell has teamed with Michael Weyant, M.D., as the surgeons who are part of the multi-disciplinary approach to lung and thoracic diseases at the University of Colorado Cancer Center.

Both are involved in minimally invasive surgery for lung cancer that allows patients to recover quicker than with conventional surgery. They specialize in airway reconstruction that results in more normal lung function after extensive surgery.

They often are alongside the oncologists, radiologists and pathologists who meet with patients together to discuss various treatment options and expectations.

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Mitchell serves as a consultant for National Jewish Medical and Research Center, a collaborative partner of the University of Colorado Hospital, and on several Society of Thoracic Surgery workforce groups. He has been the president of the Colorado Thoracic Society the last four years.

Mitchell graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School, where he went on a Armed Forces Scholarship. He did residencies in both Cardiothoracic Surgery and General Surgery at the Massachusetts General Hospital. He spent four years on active duty in the Navy, fulfilling his military obligation, before joining the faculty at Stanford University School of Medicine until 2002.

Since 2004, Mitchell has played a prominent role at the Center for the Surgical Treatment of Lung Infections at the University Cancer Center, an international referral center for the most challenging infections.

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Senior Content Writer

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.

Walter Pacheco, Managing Editor at
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3 Cited Article Sources

The sources on all content featured in The Mesothelioma Center at include medical and scientific studies, peer-reviewed studies and other research documents from reputable organizations.

  1. Mitchell, John, M.D., "Limited Resection for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer." Spring, 2011 Lung Cancer Frontiers.: Retrieved from:
  2. Your Medical Team at the University of Colorado Cancer Center for Lung and Chest Cancers. University of Colorado Hospital. : Retrieved from:
  3. Mitchell, John M.D. Solitary Fibrous Tumor of the Pleura. July, 2003. Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery. : Retrieved from:

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Last Modified August 4, 2020

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