Dr. Robert Cerfolio, Professor of Surgery

Robert Cerfolio M.D.

Professor of Surgery

About Robert Cerfolio

The mesothelioma clinic at the University of Alabama at Birmingham's Comprehensive Cancer Center was formed to bring multidisciplinary care to mesothelioma patients in the Birmingham, Alabama, area. The clinic offers a complete array of diagnostic and treatment services, including thoracic surgery by Dr. Robert Cerfolio, M.D.

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Pleural and Lung Cancer

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Excellence in Research

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Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery

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Robotic Surgery

Cerfolio is an expert in fine-needle aspiration as a diagnostic technique for pleural mesothelioma.  In 2008 he wrote about the ultrasound-guided, minimally invasive version of this surgery. According to the team of researchers, no diagnostic errors or complications were noted in a study of this technique, which allows doctors to determine which patients might benefit from curative surgeries such as an extrapleural pneumonectomy. The article was published in the January 2008 issue of Diagnostic Cytopathology.

He later spoke about ultrasound examinations to detect the metastatic spread of lung cancer at the annual meeting of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. He explained that high-risk patients might require more conclusive testing to guarantee accurate confirmation of a diagnosis.

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Robert Cerfolio M.D.


Professor of Surgery

Medical Treatment Center

University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center


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For his research in esophageal and lung cancer surgeries as well as pulmonary diseases and chest wall pathology, Cerfolio was named the James H. Estes Endowed Chair for Lung Cancer Research in 2010. He also shares his knowledge with his students at the University of Alabama School of Medicine, where he teaches as the Chief of the Section of Thoracic Surgery.

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Groundbreaking Techniques

As a team member at the Comprehensive Cancer Center, Cerfolio contributes to a team that provides groundbreaking surgical and radiation techniques, nursing services and social services. The hospital believes that mesothelioma patients can face a better outlook when their treatment combines many different specialties, including operations for patients who are candidates for the procedures.

Quick Fact

Dr. Cerfolio is an expert in fine-needle aspiration to diagnose pleural mesothelioma.

Some of the operations performed in the thoracic surgery unit at UAB include video-assisted thoracoscopic surgeries, lung surgery and robot-guided lobectomies. Cerfolio was educated in these techniques during his studies at the University of Rochester. He gained further surgical experience at the Hartford Hospital, along with urology studies at the Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. From 1991 until 1996, he also studied general surgery and cardiothoracic surgery during back-to-back fellowships at the Mayo Clinic.

Cerfolio belongs to the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, the Society of Thoracic Surgeons and the Western Thoracic Surgical Association. He has served on the Workforce on Evidence Based Surgery, the Tech-Con Task Force and the European Society of Thoracic Surgeons Abstract Reviewers Board.

Disclaimer: Dr. Robert Cerfolio has no professional affiliation with Asbestos.com.


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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.

Last Modified March 1, 2018
  1. Cardiothoracic Surgery Network. (2011). "Robert Cerfolio, M.D." Retrieved from http://www.ctsnet.org/home/rcerfolio
  2. Diagnostic Cytopathology. (2008 Jan). "Endoscopic Ultrasound-guided Fine Needle Aspiration is Useful for Nodal Staging in Patients with Pleural Mesothelioma." Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed
  3. University of Alabama Birmingham. (2010). "Physician Profile – Robert J. Cerfolio, M.D." Retrieved from http://uabhealth.org/UAB_PF/physician_3127_Robert_J_Cerfolio
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