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      P ossessing a wealth of experience, Dr. Mi- chael Carney serves as the medical director of gyne- cologic oncology at Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women & Children. He has been treat- ing patients there for more than two decades. He is also the Kosasa-endowed professor at University of Hawai‘i John A. Burns School of Medicine. Gynecologic oncologists treat cancers of the ovaries, uterus, fallopian tube, cervix and any other that starts in women’s reproductive organs. They also take care of abdom- inal masses, complex pelvic surgery and surgical issues related to complications with
DR. MICHAEL CARNEY, medical director of gynecologic oncology at Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women & Children Interviewed by Don Robbins
Treating Cancer With Teamwork
ditions, which may be a gyne- cologic cancer. We frequently see patients with non-cancer or pre-cancerous conditions, as well as patients who re- quire complex or minimally invasive surgical approaches, or chemotherapy. We are of- ten with our cancer patients for life. Fortunately, with new drugs and treatments, their lives can be extended for de- cades.
Some treatments involve surgery alone, which can last hours. Fortunately, with new minimally invasive approach- es, patients can often go home the same day. If chemotherapy is indicated, infusions can take an hour or all day. Our most common treatment regimen involves infusions and medi- cation given every three weeks for about six months. Our goal is to take care of the cancer, but also take care of the patient so that life during the cancer jour- ney can be as close to normal as possible. Fortunately, as an
Dr. Michael Carney (right) speaks with gynecologic oncologist Dr. Paula Lee (left) and oncology nurse practitioner Joanna Agena.
is always available. Every pa- tient is different and we want to be there for every need.
How has treatment changed over the past few years?
I think cancer treatment has progressed in two major ways in recent years. First, we now have more than 50 medications available for gynecologic can- cers and the number is grow- ing. The second advancement is procedures that maximize treatments while minimizing the effects for patients. This includes radical cancer surgery done with minimally invasive means including the DaVin- ci robot here at Kapi‘olani. Rather than spending weeks in the hospital, you are able to go home and return to normal life quickly with fewer compli- cations. Medications are also becoming more effective with fewer side effects and can of- ten be taken at home.
Kapi‘olani is building a new Cancer & Infusion Center. Why is the space so im-
portant for women cancer patients?
Patients deserve the best and Kapi‘olani is committed to making that happen. Impor- tantly, this means more space, more activity, more privacy and more opportunities for in- teraction for patients — both women and children — and their families. Our vision is to bring all the components of cancer care together in one place so that the oncology team, nursing, researchers, pharmacists, social workers and navigators are available for patients and their families in one central location. We want it to be a place that is in- viting, warm, and full of light and hope because I believe the psychological environment you are in has an enormous part in making that cancer journey successful.
In this article, Carney delves
academic and teaching facility, Kapi‘olani is able to offer pa- tients opportunities to partici- pate in clinical trials with cut- ting-edge treatments. We take care of our patients — mind, body and spirit — and their families for as long as it takes.
oncologists, pathologists, an- esthesiologists, critical care, consultants as well as nurse practitioners, chemotherapy nurses, nurse navigators, nu- tritionists, pharmacists, clini- cal trial specialists and more. Kapi‘olani also has a fantastic behavioral health program to help patients with depression or other challenges. We have healing touch programs, sup- port groups and social workers to assist people with financial, emotional or other practical life questions. Our chaplain
into the details of his specialty and treatment options.
At Kapi‘olani, treating can- cer involves a team. Who is involved?
What treatments are pa- tients typically seeking?
What keeps you inspired?
Many of our patients come to us after their primary care doctor or an emergency doctor has found a mass or other con-
It takes a village. Our team is incredible and includes doctors such as the gyneco- logical oncologist, radiation
I never cease to be amazed by my incredible patients and the team that comes together to genuinely care for them.
How long are treatments?
      Choose a PRIMARY CARE
PHYSICIAN on our team.

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