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Cancer Center

The Cancer Center at Westchester Medical Center is dedicated to delivering comprehensive, state-of-the-art diagnostic, preventive, therapeutic and supportive oncology services. The Center is also a leader in cancer education and translational research. We offer a full range of sophisticated specialty services and programs for cancers including leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma and prostate, brain, breast, lung and all types of gynecologic cancers – all in a quality-driven, patient-centered environment.


Westchester Medical Center earned full three-year Accreditation with Commendation as a Teaching Hospital Cancer Program by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer. The American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer recognizes the Medical Center's commitment to maintaining its cancer program and participating in the Accreditation Program. Cancer Program Standards includes eight important areas of program activity and the survey process is based on objective evaluation of the 36 standards set forth in the current manual. The accreditation award acknowledges Westchester Medical Center's (cancer) program performance compared to the standards.

Click here to learn the benefits of being a CoC-Accredited Program

Cancer Resources

Leading Cancer Research and Treatment for the Hudson Valley

Each year, more and more people are winning their fight against cancer. But still, this year more than 1.2 million people in the United States will be diagnosed with some form of cancer, and 500,000 people are expected to die.

That is why researchers and physicians at the Cancer Center at Westchester Medical Center continue to work tirelessly to develop groundbreaking preventive and therapeutic strategies that have and will save so many lives in this country and throughout the world.

One of six specialty Centers of Excellence at Westchester Medical Center, the Cancer Center brings together some of the finest researchers, physicians, surgeons, scientists and technicians with today's state-of-the-art technologies.

From the establishment of the region's first full-service Radiation Medicine program almost 20 years ago to the oldest and most active bone marrow transplant program in the region, the Cancer Center today offers the latest and most comprehensive services available anywhere.

As Westchester Medical Center and the Cancer Center face the future, we stand committed to our role as a healthcare and scientific resource for our region and the world.

As part of Westchester Medical Center's affiliation with New York Medical College, the Cancer Center collaborates with key national study groups and ranking universities in dozens of cutting-edge research projects - accelerating promising new treatments from the laboratory to patient care. In fact, patients at the Cancer Center are able to participate in, and benefit from, scientific advances in oncologic medicine and technology long before they are widely available.

Building on a long tradition of providing outstanding cancer care and management, the Cancer Center continues to break ground in therapeutic anticancer approaches, including matched unrelated marrow and cord blood transplantation, stereotactic radio surgery, high-dose-rate brachytherapy, hyperthermia and cryosurgical applications.

The Cancer Center is home to one of the most active bone marrow transplant programs in the nation, as well as one of a handful of programs in New York State approved by the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) as an unrelated Bone Marrow Transplant and Collection Center. Each year more than 20,000 radiation therapy procedures are performed at the Cancer Center to help patients battle their cancers.

As the region's only academic medical center, at Westchester Medical Center we remain at the forefront of cancer treatment and research.  Our physicians are involved in hundreds of clinical trials, giving patients access to groundbreaking medications and therapies. Our Center offers the latest and most progressive medical, surgical and radiation medicine therapies, enabling patients to receive cutting-edge care close to home.

The expert staff of the Cancer Center at Westchester Medical Center diagnoses and treats all types of cancers, including:

  • Liver Cancer
  • Colon and Colorectal Cancer
  • Bone Cancer
  • Head and Neck Cancer
  • Leukemia and Lymphomas
  • Melanoma and Soft Tissue Sarcoma
  • Neurologic Cancer
  • Urologic Cancer  

Unit Routines

Nursing Shifts
Here at Westchester Medical Center the workday is organized in two 12½ hour shifts:
Days: 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Nights: 7 p.m. to 7:30 a.m.

We want you to be aware that for about 30 minutes at the change of each shift, nurses are involved in reporting events that occurred for each of their assigned patients to nurses on the incoming shift.

  • Vital Signs
    Your temperature, pulse, respiratory rate and blood pressure (which we call "vital signs") will be taken routinely during the day at 12 a.m. (midnight), 6 a.m., 12 p.m. (noon) and 6 p.m. (or more frequently if required). Patients are weighed each morning before breakfast.
  • Rounds
    The Oncology team makes rounds every morning between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. Please be aware that your doctor works together with the other doctors on the Oncology team. Each month they rotate doing daily rounds. While in the hospital you may see another oncologist who is in contact with your doctor.
  • Discharge
    Discharge time is 10 a.m.  Please arrange for transportation. We will make our best efforts to notify you of your discharge the day before to help you plan accordingly and make arrangements for transportation home.
  • Meals
    Hospital meals are served at these approximate times:

Breakfast: 9 to 9:30 a.m.
Lunch: 12:30 to 1 p.m.
Dinner: 5:30 to 6 p.m.

Most patients will follow a "neutropenic" diet. Generally this diet does not allow fresh fruit with thin skin, vegetables or uncooked meats. Please ask your nurse or dietician for more information.

Do not keep open food and drinks at the bedside for longer than 12 hours after opening. This can be a source of infection.

Our Environment

Patients with cancer have unique infection control and safety needs because both the illness and its treatment can increase the risks of infection and other hazards. In addition to hospital-wide safety procedures like strict hand washing, the Oncology unit takes some additional precautions to keep you safe. These are important for you to know and practice.

  • Fresh or dried flowers and plants are not allowed on the Oncology unit as they pose a risk for infection.
  • There is no smoking allowed anywhere inside the hospital or adjacent to hospital entrances.
  • Patients who have low white blood cell counts will be instructed to wear a specially designed mask when they leave their rooms. Your nurse will inform you if you have to wear one. 
  • Please do not throw any garbage into the designated bright yellow chemotherapy bins that are located in each patient room. Please put garbage in the tan garbage containers. 
  • To minimize the risk of bleeding when platelet counts are low, patients are not allowed to use razors or hard bristle toothbrushes. You can use electric shavers and mouth sponges or a soft toothbrush. Please ask the nurse for the mouth sponges. You can bring a soft bristle toothbrush from home. 
  • Patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment are at risk for mouth sores. We encourage each patient to rinse with saline throughout the day and to cleanse the mouth with a soft bristle toothbrush or mouth sponge after meals. This helps to minimize risk of infection and mouth sores. Please ask your nurse for a bottle of saline for rinsing. 
  • When using the call bell, please state your specific need so that the unit clerk knows what type of assistance you need and who can provide it. 
  • The bathrooms are for patient use only. Visitor bathrooms are located directly across from the visitor elevators on each floor.

Our Medical Staff

Hematology/Hemostasis
Robert Lerner, MD (Section Chief)
John Nelson, MD
Eduardo Saponara, MD
Kiran Yalamanchili, MBBS

Oncology
Tauseef Ahmed, MD (Section Chief)
Asim Aijaz, MBBS
Stuart Feldman, MD
Delong Liu, MD
Carmelo Puccio, MD
Karen Seiter, MD

Surgical Oncology
Ronald Kaleya MD,FACS
Kathryn Spanknebel, MD (Section Chief)

Allied Health Practitioners

Oncology
Denise Byrd, NP
Denise Cameli, NP
Stephanie Danyko, FNP
Julie Martin, FNP,MSN,RN
Rosemarie Raffa, FNP
Michele Reilly, NP