Maui’s First Ever Radiation Oncologist Honored

August 14, 2012, 10:29 AM HST · Updated August 14, 10:30 AM
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Maui’s first-ever radiation oncologist Dr. Bobby Baker received a standing ovation as he was honored for outstanding contribution to the community and delivery of advanced cancer care.  Courtesy photo.

By Wendy Osher

The first-ever radiation oncologist on Maui was honored over the weekend at the American Cancer Society’s inaugural Hope Ball.

Dr. Bobby Baker is credited with establishing the Pacific Cancer Institute of Maui 18 years ago to provide radiation treatment to patients on the Valley Isle.

Before the establishment of the service, patients reportedly had to fly off-island for treatments.

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Baker was honored with the American Cancer Society’s Mana Olana Award, in recognition of his contributions.  The award will be issued annually in recognition of an individual or organization who has dedicated time, talent and/or resources to improve the quality of life of cancer patients and their families in Maui County.

Radiation oncologist Dr. Bobby Baker (third from left) was honored with the American Cancer Society’s first Mana Olana Award on Maui. Congratulating Baker from left are: American Cancer Society Chief of Staff Jackie Young; Baker’s wife, Julie; and Sen. Roz Baker of West Maui, a cancer survivor and board director for the American Cancer Society. Courtesy photo.

This year, the Pacific Cancer Institute, which Dr. Baker worked to establish, is expanding with the acquisition of the TrueBeam STx.  The respiratory tracking device is a first of its kind for Hawai’i, with a 2-1/2 millimeter treatment window, and the capability to treat a moving target with radiation.

According to Dr. Baker, small lung tumors that would normally require surgery can be treated with three noninvasive treatments with the same cure rate as thoracic surgery. “This is truly a major breakthrough and it is only here on Maui,” he said.

The award was part of the, Hope Ball, A Small World, A Big Purpose, fundraising event held on Saturday, August 11, at the Grand Wailea Resort, which drew an estimated crowd of about 250 guests.

“We are very pleased with the response from the community for this inaugural event,” said Pamela Webster, community manager of development for the American Cancer Society Maui field office.

“Our goal was to bring our community together to help fight cancer and create more birthdays for everyone,” Webster said.

The next fundraiser for the American Cancer Society will be the annual Relay for Life events in 2013.  The first will be the Youth Relay in February, followed by similar themed events in West Maui, Central/South Maui, and Molokai.

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