Valerie W. Rusch, MD, FACS

Vice Chair for Clinical Research, Department of Surgery; Miner Family Chair in Intrathoracic Cancers
Pictured: Valerie Rusch

Chief of the Thoracic Service Valerie Rusch – one of the first women to be board certified in this subspecialty – discusses the multidisciplinary care plan that is developed for each patient by a specialized team of physicians at Memorial Sloan Kettering.


I am a thoracic surgeon who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with cancers of the lung, airways (trachea, bronchi), esophagus, mediastinum, chest wall, and pleura (malignant pleural mesothelioma). I have 25 years of experience as a thoracic surgeon, and was among the first women in the country to be board certified in this specialty.

My colleagues at Memorial Sloan Kettering and I use the highest level of technological expertise to treat our patients; but I also believe in a hands-on, person-to-person approach to ensure that my patients receive the best possible care. To minimize patient discomfort and length of hospital stay surgeons here use minimally invasive techniques such as VATS (video-assisted thoracic surgery) and the latest high-tech procedures including robotically-assisted surgery whenever possible. To determine the stage of lung and other thoracic cancers, we often use EBUS (endobronchial ultrasound) and EUS (esophageal ultrasound) — techniques that allow us to determine the extent of tumors without an incision.

Appointments for New Patients
Clinical Expertise

Thoracic Surgical Oncology; Lung Cancer; Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma; Esophageal Cancer; Mediastinal Tumors, including Thymoma; Pulmonary Metastases; Tumors of the Chest Wall; Video-Assisted and Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery; Pulmonary and Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, including Laser Endoscopy and Cryotherapy; Endobronchial Ultrasound (EBUS); Tracheal and Bronchial Disease (Tracheal Stenosis, Tracheomalacia, and Tracheal Tumors) and Resections; Tracheobronchial and Esophageal Stents.

Languages Spoken
English; French

MD, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons


University of Washington Affiliated Hospitals


The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

Board Certifications

Surgery; Thoracic Surgery

Publications by Valerie W. Rusch

Esophageal Tumors: Principles and Practice. Jobe B, Hunter J, Thomas C, Rusch VW, eds. New York: Demos Medical Publishing; 2011.

Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma. O'Byrne K, Rusch V, eds. Oxford, UK: Oxford UP; 2006.

Selected Book Chapters
“Lung” and “Mesothelioma.” Rusch VW, AJCC Lung, Esophageal and Mesothelioma Task Force. In: AJCC Cancer Staging Manual. 7th ed. Edge SB, Byrd DR, Compton CC, Fritz AG, Greene FL, Trotti A, eds. New York: Springer; 2009: Chapters 25-26.

“Diffuse malignant mesothelioma.” Rusch VW. In: General Thoracic Surgery. 7th ed. Shields TW, LoCicero J, Reed CE, Feins RH. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins; 2009: 847-859.

Visit PubMed for full listing of Valerie W. Rusch journal articles
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