Hematology/Oncology

At Westchester Health, our Hematology/Oncology Department contains board trained and certified physicians who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of the full range of cancers (oncology) as well as disorders of the blood, bone marrow and lymphatic systems (hematology).

Our oncologists and hematologists all have extensive experience in their field, using the latest technology and techniques to treat and provide the highest quality care for a wide range of cancers and blood disorders, including anemia, thrombosis and coagulation disorders, as well as cancers of the brain, breast, skin, colon, female reproductive tract, head and neck, prostate, lung, kidney, testicle and bladder.

Exceptional, individualized cancer care, close to home

Now that Westchester Health is part of Northwell Health, you have access to the Northwell Health’s Cancer Institutes at Phelps Hospital and Northern Westchester Hospital. Both centers of excellence provide hematology and medical oncology, radiation oncology and thoracic surgery physician practices, as well as infusion and radiation therapy treatment areas. The Institutes’ cancer specialists work closely with local surgeons, internists, cardiologists, endocrinologists, gastroenterologists and other experienced specialists to coordinate your treatment plan and manage any other related health conditions you may have.

Dedicated to bringing you the most advanced cancer care in a compassionate, patient-centered environment, our cancer specialists take the time to get to know you, your family and what matters most in your life. They then collaborate with you and your other care providers to develop a personalized plan to best meet all your treatment goals, including your physical and emotional needs. As a testament to the quality of care provided by the Northwell Health Cancer Institute, it has been designated as a Community Cancer Program by the Commission on Cancer.

Prevention as well as treatment

At Westchester Health, our focus is not only on the evaluation and treatment of cancers and blood disorders but also on preventative care. In addition to providing the highest quality of oncologic and hematologic care, we also focus on educating you and your family about lifestyle changes you can make to control, improve or even eradicate your cancer or blood disorder.

What makes Westchester Health’s Hematology/Oncology Department different?

At Westchester Health, we firmly believe that good treatment starts with good listening. We also believe that the best patient is an informed patient, and that patient education is critical to your long-term health.

From the first time you arrive at our offices, we spend as much time with you and your family as is necessary to make sure you understand your condition, the diagnostic tests we are recommending and all of your treatment options. Throughout your journey with us, we will continue to explain our recommended course of treatment and answer any questions you may have so that you understand what to expect.

Whether you have been with Westchester Health for years or are new to our practice, you quickly recognize that our Hematology/Oncology group truly cares about each and every one of our patients. When you need us, we are here for you.

Always at the forefront of medicine

The world of medicine continues to change and evolve, especially regarding oncology and hematology. As part of Northwell Health, our oncologists and hematologists participate in its Department of Hematology/Oncology training programs, making sure they are continually up-to-date on the newest breakthrough treatments for our patients’ cancers or blood disorders.

Oncologists and hematologists are experts at treating a variety of cancers and blood disorders, including:

Anemia

Anemia is a blood condition that occurs when your body does not have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to your tissues. Symptoms include feeling tired and weak, headache, dizziness, pale or yellowish skin, chest pain, irregular heartbeat, and cold hands and feet. Anemia has many causes, including iron or vitamin deficiency, certain chronic diseases, bone marrow disease, malaria and sickle cell disease. It can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe. Treatments range from taking supplements to undergoing medical procedures. You can also reverse or prevent some types of anemia by eating a diet that includes a variety of vitamins and nutrients, including iron, folate, vitamin B-12 and vitamin C.

Brain tumors

A brain tumor is a growth in the brain that may cause headaches and seizures as well as many other nervous system problems. They can be classified as either benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous), depending on their behavior. A benign tumor does not contain cancer cells and usually, once removed, does not recur. A malignant brain tumor contains cancer cells and is usually fast growing and invasive, and may recur after treatment. Symptoms include headache, nausea, personality changes, irritability and drowsiness. Treatment for a brain tumor depends on the type, size and location, and can include surgery, radiation therapy, radiosurgery, chemotherapy and drug therapy.

Breast cancer

Breast cancer can occur in both men and women, but it's far more common in women. In fact, after skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women in the U.S. Due to earlier detection and ever-evolving treatments, breast cancer survival rates have increased substantially and the number of deaths associated with this disease has steadily declined. Signs and symptoms of breast cancer include a breast lump or thickening that feels different from the surrounding tissue, a change in the size, shape or appearance of the breast, dimpling of the skin over the breast, a newly inverted nipple, and redness or pitting of the skin of the breast, like the skin of an orange. Approximately 5-10% of breast cancers are hereditary and linked to mutated genes, particularly BRCA1 and BRCA2, both of which significantly increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. To reduce your risk of breast cancer, conduct monthly breast self-exams, eat a healthy diet, drink alcohol in moderation, exercise and maintain a healthy weight.

Colon cancer

Other than skin cancers, colon cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the U.S. Early cases of colon cancer can begin as noncancerous polyps. These often have no symptoms but can be detected by screening. Polyps found before they become cancerous can be removed and colon cancer can therefore be prevented. For this reason, doctors strongly recommend regular screenings if you are at high risk (family history) or over the age of 50. Other gastrointestinal cancers include anal cancer, esophageal cancer, gallbladder cancer, liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, rectal cancer, small intestine cancer and stomach cancer. Treatment can include ablation, embolization, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy drugs and surgery.

Disorders of hemostasis, coagulation and thrombosis

Bleeding disorders are characterized by defects in hemostasis, the natural process of slowing and stopping blood loss to initiate wound healing when an injury occurs. Bleeding disorders may be inherited or acquired, and are caused either by platelet disorders, coagulation problems (blood does not clot properly) or a combination of both. Coagulation disorders can result in a hemorrhage (not enough clotting which results in uncontrolled bleeding, known as hemophilia) or thrombosis (too much clotting which can lead to blood clots that obstruct blood flow). Symptoms include extreme fatigue, an injury that will not stop bleeding, nosebleeds, headaches and skin that is easily bruised. Treatments range from discontinuing aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to blood transfusions and even surgery.

Gynecological cancers

There are five main types of gynecological cancers that affect a woman’s reproductive organs: cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal, and vulvar. All women are at risk for gynecologic cancers, and risk increases with age. Each type of gynecological cancer has its own signs and symptoms but the most common ones are abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge, pelvic pain or pressure, more frequent or urgent need to urinate, abdominal or back pain, pain or burning of the vulva, and a rash, sores or warts of the vulva. Some gynecologic cancers are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), a very common sexually transmitted infection. The HPV vaccine protects against the types of HPV that most often cause cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers. It is recommended for preteens (both boys and girls) aged 11 to 12 years, but can be given as early as age 9 and until age 26. Treatment for gynecological cancers depends on the kind of cancer and how far it has spread, and includes surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.

Head and neck cancers

Head and neck cancers account for approximately 4% of all cancers in the U.S. and are more than twice as common among men as they are among women. They are also more prevalent in people over 50 than in younger people. Alcohol and tobacco use (including smokeless tobacco, also called chewing tobacco or snuff) are the two most important risk factors for head and neck cancers, especially cancers of the lips and oral cavity, oropharynx, hypopharynx, larynx, skull base tumors and thyroid cancer. Treatment depends on a number of factors, including the exact location of the tumor, the stage of the cancer, and the person’s age and general health. Treatment for head and neck cancer can include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy or a combination of treatments.

Hematological cancers

Hematological malignancies are cancers that affect the blood and lymph system. The cancer may originate in blood-forming tissue such as bone marrow or in the cells of the immune system. Types of hematologic malignancies include leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma, and multiple myeloma. Clonal processes describe how immune system cells respond to specific antigens (molecules that produce an immune response) that are invading the body, in some case resulting in a cancer being formed.

Lung cancer

There are three main types of lung cancer: non-small cell (the most common), small cell and lung carcinoid tumors. The most common symptoms of lung cancer are a cough that does not go away or gets worse, coughing up blood or rust-colored sputum (spit or phlegm), chest pain, hoarseness, weight loss and loss of appetite, shortness of breath, feeling tired or weak, infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia that don’t go away or keep coming back, and wheezing. Treatment typically includes surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, radiosurgery, targeted drug therapy and immunotherapy.

Melanoma and other skin cancers

There are three different types of skin cancer and they are named for the skin cell where the cancer develops: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. The most serious is melanoma. With localized basal cell and squamous cell cancers, small tumors can be surgically excised, removed with a scraping tool and cauterized, frozen with liquid nitrogen or killed with low-dose radiation. Melanoma tumors must be removed surgically, preferably before they spread beyond the skin into other organs.

Prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men (after skin cancer) but it can often be treated successfully. Risk factors include age (more common in men over 65), race/ethnicity (occurs more often in African-American men and Caribbean men of African descent), family history, obesity, smoking, chemical exposure, inflammation of the prostate and sexually transmitted infections. There are two main screening tests for prostate cancer: the PSA test and the digital rectal exam. The American Cancer Society recommends that men with average risk of prostate cancer should be screened starting at age 50, and those with high risk should be screened at age 40 or 45. Other genitourinary cancers include kidney cancer, testicular cancer and bladder cancer.