New York Methodist Hospital welcomes new cancer chief, Dr. Alan Astrow
Dr. Alan Astrow recently joined New York Methodist Hospital (NYM) as chief of hematology and medical oncology. Nationally recognized and board certified in internal medicine, medical oncology and hematology, Dr. Astrow specializes in treatment for a variety of cancers, particularly breast cancer and gynecologic cancers. In his new role at NYM, Astrow oversees the Division of Hematology and Oncology, and is responsible for services pertaining to all non-surgical and non-radiologic treatments for cancer at NYM.
In addition to patient care oversight, Astrow will work with the clinical and administrative leadership at NYM to help develop a comprehensive clinical cancer center as a central component of the hospital’s Center for Community Health. The center will comprise infusion services, clinical research, psychosocial care, medical education and community outreach.
“Hematology/medical oncology is a field where you really get to know your patients — you are with them for the ‘long haul,’” said Astrow, reflecting on what drew him to his specialty. “You want to leave no stone unturned on a patient’s behalf, and you want to make sure it’s clear to your patients that you are going to support them throughout their treatment process.”
Astrow comes to NYM from Maimonides Medical Center, where he served for more than a decade as the director of medical oncology and hematology and played a key role in the development of the cancer program there. Prior to that, he was on the staff of St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan for almost 20 years and served as the associate medical director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center, chief of clinical oncology and fellowship program director. Astrow is a graduate of the Yale School of Medicine and he completed his residency in internal medicine at Boston City Hospital and his fellowship in hematology/oncology at New York University Medical Center.
“Dr. Astrow has broad experience in the management of cancer, and our radiation oncologists work in conjunction with his medical oncology team to form the non-surgical arm of a patient’s cancer treatment plan,” said Dr. Hani Ashamalla, chair of radiation oncology at NYM. “He has been a leader in his field in New York City for years.”
“We are thrilled that Dr. Astrow has joined NYM’s lineup of expert medical oncologists, all of whom are vital partners to the Hospital’s surgeons in giving patients the best chance of beating cancer,” said Dr. Sebron Harrison, NYM’s chief of thoracic surgery. “The overall success of even the most technologically advanced surgical procedure may ultimately rely on a precisely executed chemotherapy plan to shrink a tumor beforehand, and/or to destroy remaining cancer cells afterward.”
Astrow’s key areas of interest include individualized therapies that target cancer at the molecular level. “There have been exciting developments especially in the hormonal treatment of breast cancer,” notes Astrow. “These include new targeted cancer therapies, which attack proteins that cause breast cancer to grow in certain patients. We are already incorporating those therapies into treatment options for many of these patients.”
“Dr. Astrow’s reputation in cancer treatment precedes him,” said Dr. Stephen Peterson, chairman of NYM’s Department of Internal Medicine. “But just as important, he is dedicated to the belief that cancer treatment should be centered on the whole patient, and not simply the illness he or she is confronting. We’re proud to have him leading our medical oncology services, and helping to guide the course of cancer care at New York Methodist Hospital.”
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