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Frank C. Detterbeck, M.D.

Dr. Detterbeck
New Haven, CT

Dr. Frank C. Detterbeck

Chief of Thoracic Surgery

Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven

35 Park Street, Suite 4th Floor
New Haven, CT 06511
(203) 200-5864

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University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - 1976

Northwestern Center Feinberg School of Medicine - 1983

Virginia Mason Clinic

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Dr. Frank C. Detterbeck leads the thoracic surgery department and is a professor of surgery at Yale University, one of the most respected names in academia on the East Coast, and serves as associate director of the Yale Cancer Center in New Haven, Connecticut. Dr. Detterbeck specializes in lung cancer, mesothelioma and esophageal cancer, and is experienced with minimally invasive surgical techniques. He is also tri-lingual, speaking English, French and German.

Educational Background

Dr. Detterback received his bachelor’s degree in cell biology from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 1976 and went on to complete his medical studies at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He then relocated to Seattle, Washington, where he served first as resident of surgery, and later as chief resident of surgery, at Virginia Mason Clinic. Dr. Detterbeck went on to complete a fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, first in cardiothoracic surgery (1988-1991) and later in thoracic transplantation (1991-1992).

Dr. Detterbeck is board certified in general surgery and thoracic and cardiac surgery.

Clinical and Laboratory Research

Dr. Detterbeck remained at the University of North Carolina for about 15 years, rising to the rank of professor of surgery, before he was recruited to Yale University in 2005. At both the University of North Carolina and Yale, Dr. Detterbeck has researched and treated patients afflicted with a variety of thoracic diseases, including lung cancer, lung metastases, mesothelioma, esophageal cancer, mediastinal tumors, chest wall tumors, thymoma, Pancoast tumors and sarcoma. His work in these subjects led to the authoring of numerous research-based publications, including more than 150 papers and book chapters.

It is vital for medical professionals to stay up-to-date on the latest technological breakthroughs in their fields, and Dr. Detterbeck has done so. As a surgeon, he is well versed in the increasingly popular area of minimally invasive surgery. As opposed to open-chest surgery, minimally invasive surgery requires a much smaller incision, thanks to the use of specialized tools and tiny video cameras that allow surgeons to see their actions inside the patients’ body with the least amount of disruption. Most importantly, minimally invasive surgery comes with several benefits, including a shorter recovery time and less chance of complication.

Dr. Detterbeck is a member of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, the Society of Thoracic Surgeons and the International Society for Minimally Invasive Cardiothoracic Surgery, among other associations, and holds leadership positions at several notable medical organizations.

Additional Work

Dr. Detterbeck has given invited lectures at conferences and other scientific gatherings around the globe. Recently he has presented on the topic of thymic tumors at the European Society of Thoracic Surgeons Annual Meeting in Krakow, Poland; on minimally invasive surgery at the European Master Class Course for Minimally-Invasive Thoracic Surgery in Paris, France; and on multimodality therapy of lung cancer at the 11th European Conference on General Thoracic Surgery of the European Society of Thoracic Surgeons in Zurich, Switzerland, among others.

Relevant Publications

Detterbeck FC., Boffa D, Tanoue LT. The New Lung Cancer Staging System. Chest 2009;136:260-71

Detterbeck FC, Socinski MA, Gralla RJ, Edelman MJ, Jahan TM, Loesch DM, Limentani SA, Govindan R, Ye Z, Monberg M, Obasaju CK. Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy with Gemcitabine-Containing Regimens in Patients with Early Stage Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC). J Thor Oncol 2008;3:37-45

Detterbeck FC, Jantz MA, Wallace M, Vansteenkiste J, Silvestri GA. Invasive Staging of Lung Cancer: ACCP Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guideline (2nd Edition) (Invited Review) Chest. 2007 Sep;132(3 Suppl):202S-220S.

Author: Linda Molinari

Editor in Chief, Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance

Linda Molinari

Reviewer: Annette Charlevois

Patient Support Coordinator

Annette Charlevois


Yale School of Medicine — Dr. Frank C. Detterbeck

Cardiothoracic Surgery Network — Dr. Frank C. Detterbeck

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