Thoracic surgeon Luis Herrera, M.D., has always been a pioneer in his field. As the first Puerto Rican doctor to be accepted into the University of Pittsburgh’s Trauma Program, Herrera has been a frontrunner in thoracic medicine since graduating magna cum laude with his medical degree. Drawing on his determination and work ethic, he became the Medical Director of the Rod Taylor Thoracic Care Center at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Orlando, Florida, where he brings innovative surgical care to his patients.
I had outstanding training, and I was fortunate to excel in my residency. I knew that I would identify with medicine. … I was always intrigued by science and helping others.
Herrera merges these two passions as a member of the thoracic oncology team at MD Anderson Orlando. As the center’s only thoracic surgeon who specializes in minimally invasive surgery, he helps match his patients with less radical surgeries, which in turn reduces recovery time and the chance of post-operative complications. Herrera also taps his zeal for research by being involved in clinical trials at the cancer center.
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In 2008, Herrera led a clinical trial to analyze a new tool for the detection of Stage I and Stage II lung cancer. The study, which granted 400 patients access to the new laboratory test, helped determine the accuracy of the antigen-based diagnostic tool. His research has been commended by the American Association in Cancer Research, which awarded Herrera its Minority Scholar Award, and by the National Cancer Institute, which provided him with a National Institutes of Health Minority Supplement Grant.
Herrera’s research has been published in 52 medical journals, including Surgical Oncology and Carcinogenesis. Many of his articles have been authored with peers from the MD Anderson Cancer Center, reinforcing their team approach to their work.
“The special thing about our center is that it’s comprised of different specialties under one roof, including thoracic surgery, medical oncology, radiation oncology and pulmonary care,” Herrera explained in a video for Oncology Tube.
The MD Anderson’s comprehensive approach to treatment ensures patients receive the benefit of expertise of specialists from each discipline. Herrera advocates a multimodal treatment routine, combining his surgical procedures with chemotherapy and/or radiation from another department of the hospital. This team-based treatment approach was also echoed in Herrera’s former positions, including his time as the chief resident of thoracic surgery at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Herrera’s practice in Central Florida is based at the Orlando MD Anderson clinic as well as at the South Seminole Hospital. He maintains active membership with of the American College of Surgeons.
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