NYU Langone’s Perlmutter Cancer Center celebrates first year

June 25, 2020 Jaime DeJesus
NYU Langone’s Perlmutter Cancer Center celebrates first year
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NYU Langone’s Perlmutter Cancer Center is celebrating its first year in Sunset Park.

The center, at 5718 Second Ave., continues to offer medical appointments, chemotherapy and radiation oncology for many types of cancer at a single, convenient location. Infusion treatments for neurological and rheumatologic conditions also are available at the site.

The Sunset Park medical team is supported by the broader Perlmutter Cancer Center network of doctors, who can provide multidisciplinary consultation when needed during complex cases.

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Rami Daya, head of medical oncology and infusion at the center and medical director of the Infusion Center at NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn, explained the importance of the work being done.

“Breast cancer, colorectal cancer and lung cancer are on the rise in Brooklyn,” he said. “Many individuals in the community don’t have access to commercial health insurance for cancer screenings, and they experience other poor health and socioeconomic factors that are highly correlated to many of these diseases.”

“This past year, more than a thousand patients have experienced the benefits of being patients at Perlmutter Cancer Center-Sunset Park, and we expect that number to continue to grow,” said Dr. Benjamin Neel, director of the center. “Our goal is to save lives through early detection and by providing the very best care at all of our locations in the region, and especially in Brooklyn.”

One of the highlighted cases this year was that of 64-year-old Bay Ridge resident Min Li, who was diagnosed with lung cancer. This past February, Li saw Dr. Abraham Chachoua at the center after treatment at another cancer center was unsuccessful.

“On further testing, I noted that Mr. Li’s cancer had a very specific mutation, which is targetable using a novel oral therapy on a clinical trial,” says Chachoua. “This trial was available at the Perlmutter Cancer Center Manhattan location with Dr. Joshua K. Sabari as the principal investigator. No other sites in Brooklyn offer this trial, and ordinarily Mr. Li would just receive more chemotherapy. I referred him to Dr. Sabari so that he could be enrolled in the study.”

Li said he is feeling better.

“Right now, I feel very good,” he said. “The symptoms are gone, and I feel no more pain. The tumor has gotten smaller, there’s no more shortness of breath, and I’m gaining weight. I’m very happy.”

Chachoua explained that using advanced testing techniques and innovative clinical trials give patients the best options for treatment

“After a thorough assessment of his specific cancer mutation, we were able to connect Mr. Li to alternative treatment options that would not be otherwise available,” he said. “That to me is one of the advantages of having a comprehensive cancer center in Brooklyn.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, when health care systems have been overwhelmed, the center has stayed open to care for those whose treatment couldn’t be postponed.

“Cancer doesn’t wait,” said Dr. Amy Solan, head of radiation services at the center and chief of the radiation oncology service at NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn. “Many patients couldn’t stay home during this time without worsening their outcome. People with cancer still need treatment, and we made sure that everyone received — and continues to receive — the best, safest care during this uncertain time.”

Chachoua said plans are underway to roll out integrated lung and colon cancer screening programs in Brooklyn, with support from private philanthropy, to ensure all patients have access to screening regardless of their health insurance status or ability to pay.

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