WAILEA - Dr. Bobby Baker, the first radiation oncologist to treat cancer patients on Maui, has been honored with the American Cancer Society's inaugural Mana Olana Award.
The award recognizes an individual who has dedicated time, talent and/or resources to improve the quality of life of cancer patients and their families in Maui County.
Baker, the founder and president of the Pacific Cancer Institute, was recognized for his "outstanding contribution to the Maui community and his delivery of advanced cancer care," according to an announcement of the award.
Radiation oncologist Dr. Bobby Baker received a standing ovation as he was honored by the American Cancer Society on Maui for his contribution to the community and delivery of advanced cancer care. Baker established the Pacific Cancer Institute of Maui 18 years ago to provide radiation treatment to patients on the Valley Isle. Before that, patients had to fly off-island for their treatments.
Before Baker's work to establish radiation oncology on Maui, cancer patients needed to fly off-island for treatment.
In accepting the award, Baker said he and his staff have treated all kinds of patients from the indigent to the affluent. "One thing I can say that I am most proud of, we have never turned anyone away who needs our service," he said.
This year, the Pacific Cancer Institute is expanding with the acquisition of the TrueBeam STx. The equipment provides the most precise radiation treatment in Hawaii, allowing doctors, for the first time, to deliver radiation to cancerous tissue with a respiratory tracking device to a moving target within the body.
Small lung tumors that would normally require surgery can be treated with only three noninvasive treatments with the same cure rate as thoracic surgery, Baker said. "This is truly a major breakthrough, and it is only here on Maui," he said.
Baker received the award Aug. 11 at the American Cancer Society's inaugural Hope Ball at the Grand Wailea. The event drew about 250 people for dinner and an auction.