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Columbia Radiation Oncologist Brings Multidisciplinary Care to Westchester

Henry J. Lee, MD, PhD
Henry J. Lee, MD, PhD Photo Credit: NewYork-Presbyterian

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- A new era of cancer care has arrived in Westchester County with the opening of the NewYork-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital Cancer Center in Bronxville.

“The Cancer Center has transformed the nature of cancer care in our community,” said Henry J. Lee, MD, PhD, who is Director of the Department of Radiation Oncology at NYP/Lawrence Hospital and an Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC). “Under the expert guidance of Columbia and with the strength of NewYork-Presbyterian, we have brought true multidisciplinary oncology care to Westchester residents.”

The mission of the Cancer Center is to provide the Westchester community with personalized, comprehensive cancer care in one convenient location, close to home. “Here at the Cancer Center patients can undergo an operation, receive radiation therapy and receive chemotherapy under a single roof,” said Dr. Lee. “The layout of the facility permits physicians of all specialties to physically interact with each other to provide true multidisciplinary oncology care. When emergencies do occur, patients have immediate access to the emergency room, the cardiac catheterization lab, the OR and all of the other services of a fully operational hospital.”

Dr. Lee is a board certified radiation oncologist who also holds a PhD in molecular neurobiology. His extensive clinical and academic research contributions in the fields of cancer and radiation oncology helped form the initial guidelines of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the world's leading cancer centers. A leader of cancer-specific tumor boards at NYP Lawrence and Hospital liaison to the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer, Dr. Lee is helping to establish teams of specialists to bring multidisciplinary oncology care to the Cancer Center.

“The Cancer Center is a unique setting in which physicians who specialize in various cancers and treatment techniques will collaborate in multidisciplinary teams to jointly evaluate and treat patients,” said Dr. Lee. “These teams of specialists are dedicated to treating a single type of cancer, such as breast, prostate, lung, brain, colorectal, head and neck, and pancreatic cancer.”

According to Dr. Lee, a majority of patients who receive a cancer diagnosis will undergo radiation oncology during the course of their care. At the Cancer Center, experienced and dedicated physicians and staff provide compassionate radiation oncology therapy in a state-of-the-art, supportive environment. “The vast majority of patients that we treat with radiation oncology are with the intent of cure,” said Dr. Lee. “For those patients with advanced-stage cancer, we can often dramatically improve their quality of life by reducing their pain and discomfort.”

Safety is the top priority for all patients who undergo radiation therapy. To that end, the Cancer Center has acquired the new Varian TrueBeam linear accelerator (linac) that harnesses high-powered photons, or energy waves, to treat cancer. “Our linac has every bell and whistle and can do every form of external beam radiation therapy for every type of cancer including breast, prostate, brain, lung and pancreatic cancer,” said Dr. Lee. “No form of radiation therapy has been shown to be more effective or safer for adults.”

Other radiation oncology modalities offered at the Cancer Center include stereotactic brain radiosurgery (SRS), stereotactic body radiosurgery (SBRT), image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) and intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). The Cancer Center also has new “shielded” operating rooms that will, in the future, deliver brachytherapy and intraoperative radiation therapy.

More important than innovative technology, Dr. Lee emphasizes, is the compassionate and personalized care that lies at the heart of the Cancer Center. “You can always replace technology, but you can’t replace the human element,” said Dr. Lee. “Patients come here because doctors participate directly in their care and are physically with them every step of the way, from diagnosis through treatment and recovery. Our program is built on this foundation; it is our shared vision, and it is how we physicians have practiced throughout our entire careers.”

Dr. Lee is committed to helping the Cancer Center fulfill its mission of providing world-class cancer care to the residents of Westchester. “I want our patients to feel confident that they have found the best cancer care right here, close to home,” he said. “I am devoting all of my time to be onsite at our new center so that I can personally deliver to patients the oncologic care that they expect.”

To make an appointment with Dr. Lee, call 914-787-3120.

To learn more about the comprehensive cancer program at NewYork-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital, visit our website.