Eastchester Center for Cancer Care offers a host of services for people will all types of breast cancer in a comfortable community setting, and they are the main sponsor of this special pink edition of the Bronx Times Reporter.
The center located at 2330 Eastchester Road in Pelham Gardens is a state-of-the-art oncology facility, meaning a facility that treats tumors, including breast cancer.
The special thing about Eastchester Center for Cancer Care, according some of its key staff, is that itn offers the same high-quality breast cancer care that is found in a large research or university medical hospital.
Yet all this is offered in a community-based setting where the doctors and staff know each patient as an individual and work together as a team to create the best treatment plan possible.
“The personal connection between doctor and patient is everywhere at Eastchester, but in large institutions, it does not exist anymore,” said Dr. Anthony Hoffman, medical oncologist, who handles the administering of medicine.
With consolidation of medical providers throughout New York City into just a few giant hospital systems, much of the one-on-one personal care that medicine used to be all about is gone, but this is not true at Eastchester Center for Cancer Care, said Dr. Hoffman.
Patients at Eastchester are known by name, and they are cared for in a setting that offers true collaborative decision making where the individual department team members speak to one another and consult on treatment, something that oftentimes does not happen in larger hospitals, said Hoffman.
Breast surgeries are performed by Dr. Nella Shapiro in an operating room at Albert Einstein-Weiler Hospital with the appropriate attending physicians, he said.
Shapiro is a fixture of Eastchester Center for Cancer Care, and she said it is the collaboration in caring at Eastchester that sets it apart.
“At Eastchester Center for Cancer care we do not take an ‘off the shelf’ approach to treatment,” she said. “Patients diagnosed with breast cancer who come to our center don’t just get a breast surgeon, they get a compassionate and dedicated team of specialists to coordinate and customize a care plan that is most effective and appropriate for that individual.”
Eastchester offers treatments right at its community health facility in Pelham Gardens. These procedures include radiation, chemotherapy, biological infusions, radiation planning, and hematology consultation.
The center advertises itself as the area’s premier outpatient cancer care center, for many types of cancer. In addition to medical treatment, Eastchester offers massage therapy and nutrition advice.
The multi-disciplinary team includes board certified medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, and surgeons, as well as oncology nurses, radiation technicians, nutritionists, and an art therapist.
On the cutting edge
A key component of Eastchester is that even though it is a community-scale center where the patient does not have to endure the frustration of long waits to see a doctor that they know, the cutting edge nature of the constantly-evolving world of breast cancer care is found at the center too.
Dr. Hoffman explained that the center is currently working several clinical trials, including two that he explained to the Bronx Times in layman’s terms.
One of the clinical studies Easchester is working on seeks to use the forces of “immunotherapy,” using cutting-edge medication harnessing the body’s own immune system response to better fight the cancer.
This new type of therapy is used in conjunction with more traditional chemotherapy drugs that focus more on being toxic to the cancerous cells. One of the new drugs being tested is called Indoximod.
Another clinical trial seeks to better guide breast cancer drugs in the body to their intended site.
Eastchester Center for Cancer Care also is offering targeted drugs that deal with mutations of cancer that may become resistant to the other medicines. While this approach is often expensive, and may not be covered by all insurance plans, the center works with several pharmaceutical and service providers to minimize the cost to patients, said Dr. Hoffman.
“If you want to be on top of the game and you want to deliver compassionate and good care, you have to be able to navigate the system,” he said.