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Dr. Toloza

Meet Eric Toloza, MD, PhD

Cardiothoracic Surgeon

"(Our patients) are really not going to have to try hard to find courage, because we're offering them hope. We're offering them cures."

Dr. Eric Toloza’s extensive career has taken him from California to Texas to North Carolina. He came to Moffitt in 2010 excited for the opportunity to strengthen a busy surgical practice.

A thoracic surgeon, he sees great potential in contributing to Moffitt’s advancement in the area of personalized medicine. As he explains, a patient’s tumors can be studied “for any mutations or other genetic findings that may allow their treatment to be personalized to their tumor.”

“New treatments are being discovered really every day,” he continues, “and also on the technological side, so we’re able to detect cancers at an earlier stage, with screening programs and less invasive diagnostic procedures.”

One such technology is navigational bronchoscopy, which Dr. Toloza utilizes for many of his lung cancer patients. “That’s a way to find smaller nodules in the lung, where in the past we would have to allow the tumors to get bigger so that we can find them,” he says.

Another technology Dr. Toloza uses is robotic surgery, which enables him to get a 3-D visualization of the lungs—especially crucial in hard-to-reach areas within the chest cavity, for example. Additionally, the technology gives his cancer patients the benefit of smaller incisions, shorter hospital stays and fewer complications.

But despite these many advances, he feels strongly that a patient’s courage plays a important role in the outcome of their treatment. “They have to be courageous,” he says, “because if their mind gives up, their body will give up. But at the same time, I think because we’re offering more treatment options, more cures and more hope, that it’s going to be natural for them to be courageous.”