About Eric D. Whitman, MD

Eric Whitman, MD, is a board certified surgical oncologist specializing in the care of patients with melanoma, unusual skin and soft tissue tumors, and thyroid/parathyroid surgical diseases.

Dr. Whitman grew up in the Philadelphia area and graduated from Haverford College in Haverford, PA, with a B.A. in Chemistry. He then received a medical degree from Pennsylvania State University. He continued at Penn State (Hershey Medical Center) for his general surgery internship, residency and chief residency, finishing in 1991. During this time, he also completed a funded fellowship year in surgical research as a Harrell Surgical Scholar.

Dr. Whitman then moved to Bethesda, MD, as a Senior Staff Fellow in the Surgical Branch of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). From there, he joined the faculty at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO, as an Assistant Professor of Surgery in the Section of Endocrine and Oncologic Surgery. In 1998 he left Wash U. to form the Melanoma Center of St. Louis in suburban St. Louis county as a part of Suburban Surgical Associates, primarily based at Missouri Baptist Medical Center.

Dr. Whitman was recruited to New Jersey in 2004 by Atlantic Health and soon formed the Atlantic Melanoma Center. Initially serving as the Administrative Director of Surgical Services at Mountainside Hospital in Montclair, NJ, and basing his practice at that hospital, Dr. Whitman moved to his current practice location in Morristown, NJ, in 2008 after Atlantic Health sold Mountainside Hospital.

Currently, he is the Director of the Atlantic Melanoma Center and also the Medical Director of Atlantic Health’s Office of Grants and Research, which coordinates all clinical research throughout the Atlantic Health system.

Dr. Whitman is  currently recognized as a Best Doctor, Castle Connolly New York Metro Area Top Doctor, America’s Top Surgeons, and Patient’s Choice Award winner

Dr. Whitman is an employee of Atlantic Health, but this blog site represents his personal opinions and are not an official publication or news release of that organization.

Dr. Whitman lives in northern NJ with his wife and two teenage sons.

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28 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Donna Regen
    May 04, 2009 @ 17:57:12

    Dr. Eric D. Whitman is my hero!

    My daughter Jaime was his adoring patient for the 5 years that she was a stage IV melanoma warrior. Although we live in Dallas, Jaime became a patient of Dr. Whitman when she was 24 and while he was still in St. Louis and later in New Jersey. We wanted the best melanoma specialist we could find for her to give her the best chance at survival. And although there are others across the country, Dr. Whitman was the one we chose. At one point, for almost a year we were making weekly trips from Dallas to New Jersey and back for a clinical trial. That is how much we trusted in Dr. Whitman and his expertise in melanoma and how comfortable everyone at his melanoma center (then at Montclair’s Mountainside Hospital) made us feel.

    Jaime was a fighter, and Dr. Whitman and his wonderful staff fought right along side of her every step of the way — always offering her hope and support and truly caring. Our story does not have a happy ending … as is often the case with stage IV melanoma … but I believe that Dr. Whitman gave my daughter the gift of years that she probably would not have had without his loving (yes, I meant loving) care. I will always be more grateful than words can express.

    If you have melanoma, I am so sorry — but get the best medical care you can, which means a melanoma specialist. And in my opinion, Dr. Whitman and his team would be a great choice!

    Reply

  2. Ambassador Mark Palmer
    Jul 03, 2009 @ 12:28:56

    Dear Dr. Whitman — your report on 2009 ASCO very helpful (I have Stage III melanoma). You did not comment on Plexxikon’s PLX4032 report. I noted all of your caveats about promising early stage trials so consistently letting us all done in later trials. Nonetheless I would be interested in your views on this BRAF inhibitor. Thanks. Mark Palmer

    Reply

  3. Jerry Barton
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 17:05:39

    Dr. Whitman
    Isolated limb profusion, left leg, Jan 6, 1994, BJC Hospital, St Louis Mo. Just found an old news paper story about you and I, decided to Google you and found your site. Its been almost 16 years. Hope you and family are doing well. Keep up the good work.

    THANKS!
    Jerry Barton

    Reply

    • drericwhitman
      Apr 19, 2010 @ 18:22:09

      Dear Mr. Barton,
      I remember you well and am glad that you have done so well in the intervening 16 years. Has it really been that long?
      I still have the VHS tape of the TV news snippet where we were both interviewed.

      Reply

  4. Arthur Marshall, MD
    Apr 11, 2010 @ 13:05:12

    Dr Whitman,

    As a recently diagnosed stage IV melanoma patient, I am interested in your study. For three+ years, I had been stage III and treated with Interferon, GMCSF, radiation and surgeries (wide excision of desmoplastic melanoma onn the bottom of my left foot, sentinal node bx for 1 positive node and a subsequent more thorough inguinal node dissection with no positive nodes returned–done in December 2004.) Recently a 5 X 12 mm lesion was discovered in my liver and biopsy proven to be melanoma. I am on my way to MD Anderson this week to see what they have to offer. Insofar as I know, I have no skin lesions (none appeared on my PET scan of two weeks ago.) Also, my lungs and brain are clear of lesions as of the last two weeks. Is there a way for me to qualify for your ONCOVex study as I do not have any skin lesions of which I am aware? I am wondering if it would be possible to “fiter” metatstatic cells from my blood, inject the vaccine into the pool of CTC cells and then reinject into me?? Thanks

    Reply

    • drericwhitman
      Apr 19, 2010 @ 18:18:36

      Thanks for your note. The Oncovex Trial requires that there is an injectable skin or just under the skin lesion.
      I hope your visit to my friends and colleagues at MD Anderson went well. I predict they will have several different treatment options for you.

      Reply

  5. Kevin
    May 09, 2010 @ 12:16:45

    Dr. Whitman, I found online a report you authored on the co-incidence of melanoma and papillary thyroid carcinoma.

    I am 45 yo caucasian male recently diagnosed with MM after a single palpable left side neck node was removed. Post-surgical PET/CT revealed one other “hot” node behind the left thyroid lobe. I underwent left side neck dissection which removed 27 nodes, NONE of which were positive for MM, but seven of which were positive for papillary thyroid carcinoma!?!

    No personal or family history of either disease.

    I have been hypothyroidic for 10 years and 50mcg/day Synthroid keeps my TSH in range. No symptoms ever.

    Orginal biopsy is being retested and DNA matched to rule out lab mix up and/or confirm MM diagnosis accuracy, but belief is it was accurate since positive s100 and Melan-A were present.

    Is it plausible these two diseases manifested simultaneously; anatomically proximate to each other; in the same region; on the same side; at the same hyper-metabolic moment?

    Please let me know if my case is one you believe mertits your attention.

    Thanks you!

    Reply

    • Kevin
      May 09, 2010 @ 12:18:34

      Also, just FYI my melanoma is with unknown primary. I have been checked head to toe by two surgeons, derm oncologist, eyes checked with flourascine scan, uppper/lower GI performed. All clear.

      Reply

      • drericwhitman
        May 10, 2010 @ 21:31:13

        Kevin

        thank you for your comment. Obviously, I cannot really discuss your situation or treatment in a clinical sense without meeting and examining you.

        The paper you refer to talked about the statistical relevance (in a population at risk) of having both melanoma and papillary thyroid cancer. It did not address how these should be treated or how they occur, just survival/outcome.

        Generally, having a melanoma with no known primary metastatic to lymph nodes is felt to always come from a skin primary that has somehow changed or regressed such that it is no longer clinically detectable. The outcomes of people in this situation are identical to people with known primaries and lymph node metastases. This is because other than ulceration, survival for lymph node involvement seems to depend only on the character and volume of the lymph node disease and no longer depends on the primary site’s characteristics.

        There is no specific therapy to treat both cancers other than following through with standard of care treatment for each individually.

        Hope that helps,
        edw

  6. Sue
    Aug 09, 2010 @ 14:15:33

    Dr. Whitman…You were recommended to me by Dr. Sharma. I will need a parathyroidectomy, but most of what I read about you has to do with melanomas rather than my problem. I had the necessary scan and an ultra sound at St. Clare’s last Friday so I am ready to meet with a surgeon regarding the procedure.

    As an aside and small world…I grew up in St. Louis and my father was a physician with the Grant Medical Clinic and on the staff of Barnes and St. Lukes.

    Reply

    • Edna
      Mar 25, 2017 @ 22:58:11

      Dr. Whitman, my daughter had a thyroid biopsy which revealed papillary cell carcinoma. Her PCP referred her to an Endocrinologist, which means a delay in the treatment plan because she could not even get an appt. to see the Endocrinologist. Wouldn’t it save time and money for her to just have the surgery sooner than later, before this lesion gets bigger and spreads to the lymph nodes? Your advise will be greatly appreciated.

      Reply

  7. Kevin
    Aug 16, 2010 @ 10:42:50

    Dr. Whitman,

    I learned my melanoma has a BRAF mutation at V600K, and I have also had papillary thyroid (being tested for BRAF now).

    General question:

    If someone has a cancer with BRAF mutation, does this mean they are at increased risk to develop OTHER cancers that also feature BRAF mutations?

    If so, what should they do about it? More frequent screenings and tests?

    Thanks!

    Reply

  8. drericwhitman
    Sep 01, 2010 @ 21:40:55

    This is a very interesting question and I think it is safe to say that we don’t know the systemic risk from a particular BRAF mutation. There are several cancers that could have BRAF mutations, including melanoma, thyroid cancer, and colorectal cancer. However, while a specific mutation may be prognostic (influences risk of death from the cancer) it is not necessarily causative (makes the cancer form initially). You probably should discuss this with a genetic counselor.

    Reply

  9. Ana
    Oct 28, 2010 @ 22:04:44

    Hi Dr Whitman,
    You might not remember me or my mom’s case, Ana R Cataldo who had thyroidectomy in Aug 2006 with you and then unfortunately, it came back In jan 2009 aggressively and resulted in laryngectomy. I am writing to say Thank you! She ended up having the surgery in NY with Dr Teng. I really appreciate your honest, loving feedback you gave my bro and I that day about my mom. At the time of the news, i thought our life was over since she wouldnt be able to speak since the cancer was aggressive and had affected her voicebox. You told us to not look at a month from then or a year but 5 years. Well its been a year and 8 months and she is doing good. Her levels of TSH and calcuim have been good and to date her pet/ct scan have been negative for any growth as of june 2010. Thank you for your care!

    Reply

    • drericwhitman
      Nov 24, 2010 @ 19:23:58

      Of course I remember your mother and I am glad she is doing well.

      Reply

  10. Nena
    Feb 19, 2011 @ 01:35:45

    Deaar dr.Whitman i em siking for help for my huz. his 55 and hi was diag.in 2005.uvial malanoma.Please tel me if there is any posebility that we can contakt to yo. Thank you Nena

    Reply

  11. Jeffrey Smith
    Mar 03, 2011 @ 22:36:22

    Sent an email to Atlantic Health then found this site. I was a patient in 2002 at MoBapt, ended up with Stage III Melanoma. You did the sentinel node biopsy (1 positive) and then the removal of the remaining lymph nodes in the left groin (1 positive). I believe I was the second patient you were trying a new drain technique on. Hopefully it worked on the others as well as it worked on me. I completed my year on interferon in 2003, and remained melanoma free until this last January. I had a sentinel node biopsy monday (right groin) and have been informed 1 node was positive. I guess I will be having the lymph nodes removed from the right groin now, will be having a conversation with my surgeon tomorrow and seeing him on monday, and the oncologist on tuesday. Feels like I’m starting all over again.

    Just wanted to say thank you for the last nine years.

    Reply

  12. cat
    Mar 21, 2011 @ 13:41:06

    please put me on your list to subscribe to your website

    Reply

  13. Jane
    Apr 21, 2011 @ 12:16:16

    Hi Dr. Whitman,

    I have been reading through and was wondering…my sister who is 57 is diagnosed with BRAF: exon 15 V600K mutation. NRAS: exons 1 and 2 wild-type. HRAS: exons 1 and 2 wild-type. KIT: exons 9b, 11, 13, 17, and 18 wild-type. GNAQ: exon 5 wild-type. GNA11: exon 5 wild-type.

    She was on GM-CSF for one year but came back this past Nov with the above findings.

    Is there a treatment out there that will agressively attack and shrink the tumors? A new melanoma spot just came up on big toe underneath the toenail.

    Your advice is truly appreciated.

    Reply

  14. drericwhitman
    Apr 25, 2011 @ 22:42:14

    Jane;
    Most people at this point do not get such complete genetic testing of their melanoma. The only important genetic tests at this point for cutaneous melanoma are BRAF and c-KIT. The GNAQ is only relevant to uveal (eye) melanoma. NRAS and HRAS aren’t used at this point to determine therapy.

    Since you had this testing, your sister likely has a physician who is very attuned to the treatment decision possibilities and parameters associated with these results. The basic answer is that there aren’t any currently approved melanoma treatments that specifically target any of these mutations. There are several clinical trials that require and design treatment plans based on these two (BRAF and/or c-KIT) mutations and your physician will probably steer your sister in those directions.

    Reply

  15. Jane
    Apr 26, 2011 @ 16:47:40

    Hi Dr. Whitman,

    No, we just want the best possible clinical trial geared toward those findings. A nonobjective list of possibilities would be helpful as like it or not some institutions will only push what their current trials have rather than best solution.

    Just my humble opinion,

    Jane

    Reply

  16. Linda Serra
    May 05, 2011 @ 07:22:59

    Dr. Whitman,

    You treated my for melenoma 1999 with the Melacine study. I am 11 years cancer free, thank you. Now my friend has been diagnosised and I was wondering who is the specialist in St. Louis now that you are gone.

    Reply

  17. Joyce Linn
    Aug 10, 2011 @ 09:03:54

    Dr. Whitman,
    I hope this finds you and Amy and the boys doing welI! was thinking about you and decided to google and see where you were located now. I know the loss of you in St. Louis was the gain to those in NJ. Wishing you all the best!
    I hope you remember me.

    Reply

  18. Robert Tiscornia
    Jun 20, 2012 @ 00:01:53

    dr stas of newton nj recommended dr whitman for parathyroid surgery ,the sonogram also showed a nodule on the thyroid…..how many parathyroid surgerys have you performed…..

    Reply

  19. joseph gaffey
    Jun 28, 2012 @ 05:16:59

    Dr Whitman,

    I was diagnosed with Stage 4 melanoma ( lung & Liver) a week ago. My doctor recommended that I see Dr Chapman at Memorial Sloan Kettering but I cannot get an appointment until July 13. It seems to me that very valuable time is pasting and he wants to wait for Dr Chapman recommendation before starting treatment. I did a lot of research on treatments- should I start ASAP or wait the 2 weeks ?

    Thank you in advance for your opinion- I am 57 w/ 2 young kids, I like to be around as long as possible- Joe

    Reply

  20. Alan Wirt
    Jul 12, 2012 @ 12:15:15

    I saw a flier for an upcoming melanoma lecture (tonight) in Reading, PA. Your name was on the flier, and jogged an old memory, which I will ask you about. When you were in med school, did you play in a summer basketball league? I think I remember you from there?

    Currently I work for Genentech, in the Bioonc division, and are involved in melanoma research- as I am sure that you know.

    Hope all is well. I’ll tell Bonsall that I contacted you. (he goes to the same YMCA that I do)

    Alan Wirt

    Reply

  21. Zulema Mclucas
    Oct 07, 2012 @ 22:25:22

    Skin lesions can be minimized through the use of acid peels and in the worst cases, it can be reduced by laser exposure. .;;’:

    Newest posting straight from our personal blog site
    http://www.prettygoddess.com

    Reply

  22. Diane Fowler
    Nov 17, 2016 @ 12:43:33

    Dr. Whitman, Thank you for your website. I am wondering, do you use immunotherapy to treat reoccuring surface squamous cell skin cancers? If no, do you know of anyone who does? In 2010, I was diagnosed and treated for 4th stage squamous cell ca at the base of my tongue. I was treated with chemo and radiation treatment and was declared ‘in remission’. In 2013, I developed numular excema and while treating that, squamous cell ca was found on my skin. I have had 8 positive spots and 2 pre-squamous spots removed. Currently, to my knowledge, I am cancer free but have no doubt it will return. I thank you in advance for any advice you can offer. I live near St. Louis, MO.

    Reply

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