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W. Charles Conway II, M.D.

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

Education and Training

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

Surgical Oncology and Peritoneal Mesothelioma at Ochsner

Following his fellowship in Santa Monica, Dr. Conway accepted a position as a surgical oncologist at the Gayle and Tom Benson Cancer Center at New Orleans’ Ochsner Medical Center. In this role, 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 closely associated with asbestos exposure, especially through the workplace. Although it is rare, Louisiana has a high incidence of this disease because of the shipping industry. Asbestos was once commonly used in the shipbuilding industry. As a result, workers that spent years in and around ships on the Gulf Coast were exposed to asbestos. Many of these workers later developed mesothelioma or other asbestos-related illnesses.

Dr. Conway specialized in mesothelioma out of necessity. He and his colleagues saw more patients with this type of cancer than physicians other regions of the country. Because peritoneal mesothelioma is uncommon, Dr. Conway found a need to work toward better treatment. While other surgeons at Ochsner have taken on pleural mesothelioma (the type of mesothelioma that affects the lining of the lungs), Dr. Conway is making strides with patients suffering from the abdominal form of the cancer.

Dr. Conway also collaborates with other colleagues at Ochsner who specialize in mesothelioma treatment. They work together to provide an effective multidisciplinary approach to patient treatment. For example, Dr. Conway and his colleague Dr. Landreneau have both used debulking surgery followed by HIPEC to treat peritoneal and pleural mesothelioma. HIPEC is Intraperitoneal hyperthermic chemoperfusion. In this procedure, heated chemotherapy drugs are circulated in the abdomen or chest. Although this two-part treatment was originally used only to treat peritoneal mesothelioma, Dr. Landreneau became the first surgeon in Louisiana to use it for patients with pleural mesothelioma.

Introducing Robotic Surgical Procedures

Not only does Dr. Conway work with peritoneal mesothelioma patients, he also specializes in other types of abdominal cancer. By developing better procedures to treat these patients, he is able to apply them to various cancers that affect the abdominal cavity and organs. He has especially pushed to further the use of robotic surgery.

In 2013, Dr. Conway was the first surgeon in Louisiana to perform a surgery called the Whipple procedure, a completely robotic pancreaticoduodenectomy. Although this is a complicated procedure, it is also minimally invasive. Dr. Conway can treat patients with pancreatic cancer using this procedure, creating a small incision. Because the incision is so small, patients recover faster. Outcomes for patients undergoing the procedure are better than those for patients who have undergone more traditional surgeries.

Professional Organizations and Honors

In addition to being a board certified general surgeon, 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 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.

Dr. Conway is already an acknowledged expert in his field. His work with patients and his dedication to developing safer surgical techniques has also earned respect from his patients.

Page Edited by Dave Foster

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Dave has been a mesothelioma Patient Advocate for over 10 years. He consistently attends all major national and international mesothelioma meetings. In doing so, he is able to stay on top of the latest treatments, clinical trials, and research results. He also personally meets with mesothelioma patients and their families and connects them with the best medical specialists and legal representatives available. Connect with Patient Advocate Dave Foster

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