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W. Charles Conway II, M.D.

Dr. W. Charles Conway II is a surgical oncologist specializing in abdominal cancers and particularly the rare cancer called peritoneal mesothelioma. He currently treats cancer and mesothelioma patients at Ochsner Medical Center’s Gayle and Tom Benson Cancer Center, located in New Orleans, Louisiana. Dr. Conway works alongside Dr. Rodney Landreneau, a noted expert in pleural mesothelioma. Together they offer patients a multidisciplinary approach to treating mesothelioma.

Education and Training

Dr. Conway received his undergraduate degree from Hope College in Holland, Michigan. He then went on to earn his medical degree in Detroit from Wayne State University School of Medicine. He completed both an internship and residency program at Wayne State’s Medical Center immediately following his medical degree. He also studied for a period of time in Ghana before completing a surgical oncology fellowship at the John Wayne Cancer Institute in Santa Monica, California. Dr. Conway is board certified in general surgery.

Surgical Oncology and Peritoneal Mesothelioma at Ochsner

Following his fellowship in Santa Monica, Dr. Conway accepted his first position as a surgical oncologist at the Gayle and Tom Benson Cancer Center at New Orleans’ Ochsner Medical Center. It wasn’t until he took on this role at Ochsner that Dr. Conway developed an interest in treating patients with peritoneal mesothelioma, the rare cancer that affects the tissue lining organs in the abdominal cavity.

All types of mesothelioma are most often associated with exposure to asbestos, especially through the workplace. Although it is rare, Louisiana has a high incidence of this disease because of shipping and shipbuilding. Asbestos was used heavily in these industries, so the workers that spent years in and around ships on the Gulf Coast were exposed to it and many later became sick with mesothelioma.
So Dr. Conway’s specializing in mesothelioma was really born of necessity. He and his colleagues saw more patients with this type of cancer than physicians and surgeons in many other regions of the country. Because peritoneal mesothelioma is not common, Dr. Conway found there was a great need to work toward better treatment for these patients. While other surgeons at Ochsner have taken on pleural mesothelioma, the type that affects the lungs, Dr. Conway is making strides with patients suffering from the abdominal form of the cancer.

Dr. Conway also collaborates with colleagues at Ochsner who also specialize in treating mesothelioma. They work together to provide a multidisciplinary and more effective approach to treating patients. For instance, Dr. Conway and his colleague Dr. Landreneau have both used debulking surgery followed by the circulation of heated chemotherapy drugs to treat peritoneal and pleural mesothelioma. It is a procedure originally used only for peritoneal mesothelioma, but Dr. Landreneau became the first surgeon in Louisiana to use it for pleural patients.

Introducing Robotic Surgical Procedures

Dr. Conway doesn’t only work with peritoneal mesothelioma patients. He also specializes in the treatment of many other types of abdominal cancer. By developing better procedures to treat these patients, he is able to apply them to various types of cancer that affect the abdominal cavity and organs. He has especially pushed for better and more robotic surgery.

In 2013 Dr. Conway was the first in Louisiana to perform a surgery called the Whipple procedure, a completely robotic pancreaticoduodenectomy. This is a complicated procedure that is also minimally invasive. He is able to treat patients with pancreatic cancer using this procedure and create only a small incision that allows the patients to recover better and faster. Outcomes for patients undergoing the procedure have actually been better than those for patients who have undergone more traditional and invasive surgery for the same reasons.

Professional Organizations and Honors

In addition to being board certified in general surgery, Dr. Conway is a member of the American College of Surgeons and the Society of Surgical Oncology. He has been recognized by peers as a future leader in the research and treatment of peritoneal mesothelioma and other abdominal cancers. As a young surgeon, he has a bright future and is expected to garner many more honors and to make strides in fighting mesothelioma.

As a young leader in the fight against peritoneal mesothelioma, Dr. Conway is already acknowledged as an expert in his field. His work with patients and his dedication to developing newer, better, and safer surgical techniques has also drawn respect from those he treats.

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