Surgical oncologist W. Charles Conway joined Ridley-Tree Cancer Center in Santa Barbara, California, in 2017, as the director of surgical oncology.
Works for Specialty Center
Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy
California ranks No. 1 in the U.S. for mesothelioma and asbestos-related deaths. There is a vital need to improve the treatment for this rare cancer, and Conway stepped into the role.
In his new role, Conway, is putting together a multidisciplinary team that will expand the reach of the cancer center, moving it into peritoneal malignancies.
Peritoneal surface malignancies, complex oncologic surgeries
“This is exciting to build a program, putting it together the way you think is best,” Conway said. “One of the reasons I decided to make the move was to take on that challenge and grow a new program.”Conway believes the expansion of the Ridley-Tree Cancer Center will eliminate the need for patients to travel to San Francisco or Los Angeles to get first-class specialized care for peritoneal mesothelioma.
In 2013, Conway performed the first totally robotic pancreaticoduodenectomy (Whipple procedure) in Louisiana. The robotic approach eliminates the need for a large abdominal incision, and shortens the recovery time.
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He has been successful treating many peritoneal patients with a multidisciplinary approach that includes cytoreductive surgery and hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC).
The surgery removes all visible signs of the cancer. It is followed by a heated chemotherapy solution that is pumped into the abdomen, then circulated for 90 minutes before being drained. The theory is that the heated chemotherapy bath can reach the microscopic cells that the surgeon couldn’t remove. It is more concentrated than systemic chemotherapy.
“These [mesothelioma] patients are in a tough spot, but you can make a difference for them with hard work and the experience we have,” Conway said. “It’s a difficult operation, and the post-operative care is difficult. But we are equipped to handle it well.”
Conway joined the Ridley-Tree Cancer Center in Santa Barbara, California, in 2017 as the director of surgical oncology. He did his surgical oncology fellowship at the John Wayne Cancer Institute in Santa Monica, where he first developed a strong interest in peritoneal malignancies.
He did his earlier internship and residency at Wayne State University/Detroit Medical Center, and he is board certified in general surgery. Conway is a member of the American College of Surgeons and the Society of Surgical Oncology.He spent eight years at the Ochsner Cancer Institute in New Orleans, where he carved a reputation as a national leader in the treatment of peritoneal mesothelioma. Conway also has taken a leadership role in researching even better ways to treat peritoneal patients, collaborating with other cancer centers, which is critical with a rare cancer like mesothelioma. “We’ve seen significant progress made in treating this disease,” he said. “But there is still so much more we can do.”
Disclaimer: Dr. W. Charles Conway has no professional affiliation with Asbestos.com.
Tim Povtak is an award-winning writer with more than 30 years of reporting national and international news. His specialty is interviewing top mesothelioma specialists and researchers, reporting the latest news at mesothelioma cancer centers and talking with survivors and caregivers. Read More