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Hudson Valley Hospital Center gets $150,000 Grant to Improve Breast Cancer Care


Cortlandt Manor, NY - (October 18, 2012) – Women treated for breast cancer at Hudson Valley Hospital Center will have more choices thanks to a $150,000 grant the Hospital is to receive from New York State with the help of Senator Greg Ball.


The money will help to pay for equipment that will allow the Ashikari Breast Center at Hudson Valley Hospital Center to perform intra-operative radiation on women undergoing breast cancer surgery. The procedure will be available to patients starting the second week in November.


“The Ashikari Breast Center at Hudson Valley Hospital Center offers women the best cancer care close to home,’’ said breast cancer surgeon Dr. Andrew Ashikari today at a press conference at the Hospital. “Now women who could benefit from intra-operative radiation don’t have to travel elsewhere to get it. This is a great addition to the Hospital and a victory for women with breast cancer.’’


Sen. Greg Ball said he was happy to advocate for his community in Albany. 

“The stresses associated with battling breast cancer are overwhelming and providing world class services locally, without the additional stress of travel and hardship of leaving the familiarity of their community is exactly why I couldn’t be happier to deliver this $150,000 grant to the Hudson Valley Hospital Center. I am proud to assist in making the Cheryl R. Lindenbaum Cancer Center the destination of choice for cancer patients in the Hudson Valley,” said Senator Greg Ball. "It is a great honor to be able to deliver this money for the hard working doctors, nurses, staff and the entire Hudson Valley Hospital Center community, especially as we embrace the struggles of our mothers, sisters, aunts and other beloved ones during breast cancer awareness month."


Dee Curtis, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2011, said she had no idea what Intra-operative radiation was or how the treatment could help to save her breast before speaking with Dr. Andrew Ashikari. Back then, Hudson Valley Hospital Center’s Cancer Center had not yet opened so Curtis had to travel to another Hospital to have her surgery.


“I was going to have a mastectomy, but Dr. Ashikari said with this treatment, he could save my breast,’’ said Curtis who lives in Yorktown with her husband. “ I also had 1 less week of radiation, which was a good thing because if I had to go one more week, I wouldn’t have been able to stay in work. I was just that tired.’’


Hudson Valley Hospital President John Federspiel said the Hospital chose to use the grant money and invest an additional $413,000 to buy the intra-operative radiation equipment because it is committed to making the Hospital’s Cheryl R. Lindenbaum Cancer Center the destination of choice for cancer patients in the Hudson Valley.


“Cancer patients should not have to add extra travel to their already hectic lives during such a stressful time’’ said Federspiel. “The philosophy of our Cancer Center is to provide quality, comprehensive cancer care close to home. It should be no different when it comes to women who choose to have intra-operative radiation.’’


Intra-operative radiation (IORT) allows selected breast cancer patients undergoing breast preservation surgery to receive one dose of radiation while asleep during surgery, compared with 6-1/2 weeks of radiation after surgery.  In higher risk patients, it is used to boost the surgical cavity with radiation to reduce the post-op radiation to only 5 weeks. Women who undergo IORT only and develop a recurrence can then undergo a repeat lumpectomy and whole breast radiation, while those who get standard radiation and develop a recurrence are recommended to have a mastectomy. The Ashikari Breast Center has participated in the largest international trial of IORT and will be active in the American trial, which will begin soon. The IORT procedure at HVHC will be overseen by the Cancer Center’s Department of Radiation Oncology under its Medical Director, Dr. Chika Madu.


“Not everyone is a candidate for IORT, but in many women undergoing a lumpectomy it provides a less stressful option to traditional whole breast radiation treatments,” said Dr. Pond Kelemen of the Ashikari Breast Center.


The Ashikari Breast Center came to Hudson Valley Hospital Center in July 2011 and their offices are located in the Hospital’s Cheryl R. Lindenbaum Comprehensive Cancer Center, which opened in November 2011.

Leaders in their field, The Ashikari team has pioneered a breast reconstruction procedure that has attracted women from all over the world, most notably a nipple-sparing procedure that allows them to remove cancerous or potentially cancerous breast tissue, minimizing the trauma of a mastectomy. Many women, including those who are cancer-free, but have high-genetic risk and are seeking prophylactic surgery, favor this approach.


Hudson Valley Hospital Center and the Cheryl R. Lindenbaum Cancer Center  are dedicated to serving the health care needs of the community and to providing quality, comprehensive medical care in a compassionate, professional, respectful manner, without regard to race, religion, national origin or disease category. Offering state-of-the-art diagnostic treatment, education and preventive services, the Hospital is committed to improving the quality of life in the community.  In fulfilling this mission, the Hospital will strive to continuously improve the care provided and develop and offer programs, facilities, systems and alliances that most effectively respond to community health care needs.  Hudson Valley Hospital Center is located on Route 202 (1980 Crompond Road) in Cortlandt Manor, New York. Call 914-737-9000 or visit www.hvhc.orgThe Cheryl R. Lindenbaum Cancer Center is located at 1978 Crompond Road, Cortlandt Manor, New York. Call 293-8400 or visit www.hvhc.org.