Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Pragatheeshwar Thirunavukarasu, MD

Surgical Oncologist & Hepatopancreaticobiliary Surgeon

Southwestern Regional Medical Center

"Treating cancer is not just about the cancer. It is about the person. It is about hope, joy and the pursuit of happiness."

- Pragatheeshwar Thirunavukarasu, MD
Pragatheeshwar Thirunavukarasu, MD

Medical Degree

  • Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MD) - Madras Medical College, Chennai, India

Internship / Residency

  • Internship, General Surgery - University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
  • Residency, General Surgery - University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA


  • General Surgery – American Board of Surgery


  • Surgical Oncology (Research Fellowship) - Hillman Cancer Center, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Complex General Surgical Oncology - Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY
  • Hepatopancreaticobiliary Surgery - The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX

Practicing Since: 2016

For Dr. Pragatheeshwar Thirunavukarasu, Surgical Oncologist and Hepatopancreaticobiliary Surgeon at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) in Tulsa, Oklahoma, cancer care takes the Golden Rule to the next level. “We don’t just treat others as we would have them treat us,” he says. “We treat others as we would want our own loved ones to be treated.”

Originally from Tamil Nadu, Dr. Thirunavukarasu—or Dr. Prag, as he is known at CTCA®—studied medicine at Madras Medical College, completing his Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MD) degree in 2005. He then came to the United States for extensive postgraduate training. He completed a surgical internship and general surgery residency at the University of Pennsylvania and then at the University of Pittsburgh, respectively.

With a prestigious scholarship from the American College of Surgeons during his residency, he then turned his attention to research with a two-year fellowship at the Hillman Cancer Center, part of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, where his research focused on developing oncolytic viral gene therapies (for example, using genetically modified viruses to infect and kill cancer cells).

Dr. Prag also completed two clinical fellowships, first at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in complex general surgical oncology and then at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, where he trained specifically in hepatopancreaticobiliary surgery.

At CTCA, Dr. Prag focuses on tumors of the gastrointestinal tract, liver and pancreas and peritoneal surface malignancies. He employs advanced techniques and quality standard of care practices to treating a range of cancers, with a particular focus on advanced and metastatic disease. Drawing from a wide selection of approaches, including minimally invasive surgical techniques and robotics, Dr. Prag works with a team of surgical specialists who strive to develop treatment plans for even the most difficult situations, with a balanced approach intended to improve the quality of patients’ lives. “My goal for cancer patients is to add years to their lives, and life to their years,” says Dr. Prag.

In addition to treating patients, Dr. Prag has always loved writing about and teaching science and medicine. He has published several research articles in prominent medical journals in recent years, has authored several book chapters on surgical oncology, and served as editor of a textbook on surgical oncology. He has presented his work at several professional national conferences across the United States and has been an invited speaker by the American College of Surgeons and multiple international institutions.

Dr. Prag is board certified in general surgery by the American Board of Surgery. He currently holds active licenses to practice medicine in the States of Texas, New York and Oklahoma. He has been a member of the American College of Surgeons, the Society of Surgical Oncology (Fellow Member) and the Americas Hepato-Pancreatico-Biliary Association (Fellow Member).

Besides caring for patients, Dr. Prag also loves spending time with his family, including his wife, daughter and extended family. He is passionate about music, writing and public outreach focused on cancer care.

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