As a native of Thailand, Tawee Tanvetyanon, M.D., can appreciate how much more advanced the handling of malignant mesothelioma is here in the United States.
Yet he also knows how much better it could – and probably should – be. He is doing something about that, too, at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa.
Fast Fact Dr. Tanvetyanon has written 58 articles for medical journals and is fluent in Thai.
“The management of the disease is much more difficult there (in Thailand). The resources are limited,” he said during an interview. “Here, some patients will do very well, and that’s encouraging, but others will not. A lot still needs to be done to find out why that is. We’ve come a long way, but certainly the management and treatment of this disease could be a lot better.”
Tanvetyanon, a medical oncologist who specializes in both thoracic cancers and cancers of the head and neck, has been working on mesothelioma since coming to Moffitt in 2005. He is a big part of the recently-revamped Mesothelioma Research and Treatment Center.
He understands the intricacies of this rare cancer, knowing the importance of specialized care now being provided at Moffitt.
This is not a one-size-fits-all disease. You can’t just go buy a cookbook, follow the recipe and think you understand it. There are a lot of details that need to be attended to with mesothelioma. It’s going to take a lot more research to really master this disease.
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Tanvetyanon also is an assistant professor at the University of South Florida College of Medicine’s Department of Oncologic Sciences. He earned his medical degree from Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand in 1996, and interned at Thomas Jefferson Medical College’s Albert Einstein Medical Center in Pennsylvania.
He completed his residency at the Einstein Medical Center in 2001, and then studied Medical Oncology and Hematology during a fellowship at Loyola University’s Stritch School of Medicine in Chicago. He is Board Certified in Medical Oncology, Hematology and Internal Medicine.
His expertise includes adjuvant chemotherapy, bone cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, mesothelioma, non-small cell lung carcinoma, prostate cancer and cancers of the head and neck.
The range of his research interest extends from linking beta-carotene (a form of vitamin A) with smoking and lung cancer to linking progressing mesothelioma with asbestos.
Much of his research has focused on clinical trials of lung cancer with an emphasis on symptom management and improvement in quality of life for patients.
He has researched palliative care by investigating methods of relieving symptoms related to chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy. Tanvetyanon is currently researching the benefits of PET scans for patients undergoing chemotherapy prior to surgery for lung cancer.
Tanvetyanon has authored 58 scholarly articles in publications such as the American Journal of Otolaryngology, the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the New England Journal of Medicine, Cancer, the Journal of Palliative Care, the Journal of The National Cancer Institute, and the Journal of The American Medical Association.
In one scholarly article for the Department of Thoracic Oncology at Moffitt, Tanvetyanon reviewed literature on the quality of care for non-small cell lung cancer patients. By analyzing previously completed studies, he searched for ways to measure levels of care and improve patient experiences.
He is a member of the American Society of Hematology and the American Association of Cancer Research. In 2005 he received a Merit Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and was recognized with a Patients’ Choice Award in 2008 and 2009.
Dr. Tanvetyanon wrote the introduction for a group of articles in the journal Canceron uncommon tumors, including malignant pleural mesothelioma, emphasizing the importance of mesothelioma studies.
“Uncommon as these tumors may be in the overall population, the condition is personally vital to the affected individual,” he wrote.
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