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Howard M. Karpoff MD, FACS
Board Certified: General Surgery
Medical School/Degree: New York University School of Medicine
Hospital Affiliations: Orange Regional Medical Center, Catskill Regional Medical Center, Crystal Run Ambulatory Surgery Center of Middletown, LLC
Prior Experience: Orange Regional Medical Center, Middletown, NY
Residency: General Surgery, NYU Medical Center, New York, NY
Internship: General Surgery, NYU Medical Center, New York, NY
Fellowship: Surgical Oncology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY
Undergraduate: Princeton University
Breast Cancer, predominantly
Year Joined: 2005
What made you want to become a health care provider or what is your earliest memory of wanting to be one?
I never wanted to be anything but a doctor. My parents even kept a prescription that I wrote when I was around 4 years old for Dimetapp. I remember walking into my father's hospital room after he had major vascular surgery, and being curious about the scars and what was done. My mother cringed; I was interested. I was 5 at the time.
What do you love most about your specialty? / Why did you choose your specialty?
Surgery, in general, tends to be rewarding because as surgeons, we get to fix problems. I like Surgical Oncology, particularly Breast Surgery, because I believe I make a difference. I have the opportunity, the privilege, of being able to cure a good many people, which is very rewarding. I can help people through the process. I can educate them, their families and their friends about breast health and prevention strategies. It's a field that lets me reach out to the community with lectures or the Breast Cancer screening clinic. And I get to meet a lot of really terrific interesting people who I am honored to take care of.
How do you connect with your patients?
I do not wear a white coat or a tie. I do not like barriers between my patients and me. I like to talk with them, and learn about them and their families; i.e what are their interests, where are they from, what book are they reading, etc. I try to find topics of interest, often NON-medical related, to chat with them about so that I can reduce the tension that patients have when they see a surgeon. If I can make them smile or laugh, that's even better. Telling a patient they have cancer, talking about the treatment options, but getting them to laugh and NOT think of cancer as a death sentence, but as a problem that we will get through together makes a big difference in the patient's outlook. And a positive attitude is very important. Follow me on Twitter @doctorkarpoff.
What are your interests outside of the office (hobbies, activities)?
I am married with three children, so that comprises a significant portion of my activities! I have a son and twin daughters (Zack, Jordan and Madison). I am a voracious reader, mostly of fiction. I collect comic books, and have about 43,000 of them.
What is your advice for your patients?
In broad terms, I advise my patients to take charge of their health and healthcare choices, and my responsibility is teaching them enough about their health and their condition so that they can understand and make the informed choices that are best for them. Education and understanding. In more narrow (specific) terms 1. I am constantly discussing skin cancer and prevention, sun screen, cover ups, etc. 2. I want to make sure women are getting appropriate women's gyn care, such as pap smears, etc as well as appropriate imaging for the patient. The roll of breast self-examination and clinical breast exams. 3. Colonoscopy over 50 4. Moderation: diet, exercises, healthy choices But overall, the advice is to make sure you understand what is going on and to ask questions if you do not.