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Richard Berri, M.D., doesn’t make any guarantees when it comes to the treatment of peritoneal mesothelioma at St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit. He just makes one promise:
You’ll get the best possible care here.
Berri is the director of Surgical Oncology and Peritoneal Surface Malignancy Program at the Van Elslander Cancer Center in Michigan. He is a strong proponent of treating mesothelioma with cytoreductive surgery (CRS) followed by hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC).
A believer in multidisciplinary medicine, Dr. Berri thinks every patient benefits when doctors from multiple specialties disciplines work together to provide individualized treatment that is unique to the patient. Berri is known for his surgical skill and for his eagerness to collaborate with other specialists to deliver optimal care to his patients.
Peritoneal mesothelioma is a cancer within the lining of the thin membrane surrounding the abdominal cavity. It represents just 20 percent of all mesothelioma cases that are diagnosed. It is one of Berri’s specialties.
Fast Fact: He created the HIPEC program at Van Elslander Cancer Center for patients with select cancers.
Berri’s expertise is in gastrointestinal surgical oncology with a specific focus on peritoneal malignancies of all kind. He has experience handling all cases of peritoneal carcinomatosis, including mesothelioma.
Much of his training came from MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston before taking the lead in Detroit at St. John Hospital, the first facility in Southeast Michigan to offer the CRS and HIPEC combination.
"This procedure has been proven to extend the lives of patients and improve their quality of life," he said as part of a video seminar at the hospital. "It is a very good option."
The cytoreductive surgery he does removes all visible tumors from the peritoneal cavity. Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy is then delivered directly into the abdomen at an increased temperature that makes it more effective.
"Patients with peritoneal carcinomatosis from any malignancy should at least be aware of this option and make an educated decision,” he said. "For some, it’s a very good option."
Berri has used his approach with different types of peritoneal cancer. The St. John Hospital, with four different centers, sees an estimated 3,000 cancer patients and 15,000 surgical cases annually.
According to his calculations, the CRS and HIPEC combination almost doubled the survival length for patients with peritoneal cancers.
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