James A. Eastham, MD, FACS -- Chief, Urology Service; Florence and Theodore Baumritter/Enid Ancell Chair of Urologic Oncology

Meet Prostate Cancer Surgeon James Eastham

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James A. Eastham, MD, FACS

Surgeon

Titles

Chief, Urology Service; Peter T. Scardino Chair in Oncology

Clinical Expertise

Prostate Cancer; Nerve-Sparing Techniques; Salvage Radical Prostatectomy; Robotic Prostatectomy

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Accepted Insurance Providers

Dr. Eastham accepts the following list of insurance providers. Select your insurance provider to see more details.

Contact and Location

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Memorial Sloan Kettering has locations throughout New York City, Long Island, New Jersey, and Westchester. These locations offers many services, including screening, chemotherapy, and medical testing.

About Me

Education

MD, University of Southern California, Los Angeles

Residencies

Urology - Los Angeles County - University of Southern California Medical Center

Fellowships

Urologic Oncology - Baylor College of Medicine

Board Certifications

Urology

I am a surgeon who specializes in nerve-sparing radical prostatectomy for the treatment of prostate cancer and salvage radical prostatectomy in patients with prostate cancer in whom radiation therapy has failed. I completed my fellowship in urologic oncology in 1995 and have been in practice since then, devoting the past 15 years exclusively to the care of men with prostate cancer.

I see about 300 men with prostate cancer each year. Many of them have low-risk disease and are candidates for active surveillance, meaning that no immediate treatment is necessary. In this approach, we monitor the tumor closely for signs that it might be growing or becoming more aggressive and hold off on treatment. For those men with more high-risk cancer that requires treatment, I primarily perform robotic-assisted radical prostatectomy.

At MSK, our treatment recommendations are based on personal risk. Not all men have the same risk — one size does not fit all. Many prostate cancers are of such low risk that treatment would only result in possible side effects, without improving patients’ life expectancy. Such cancers are best managed with active surveillance. Other men will benefit from either surgery or radiation therapy.

While most men are candidates for robotic surgery, some may still do better with traditional open surgery, a procedure I also perform. An area of special interest to me is men with high-risk prostate cancer who might not have been considered candidates for traditional open surgery. This includes men who have previously been treated with radiation therapy but whose cancer has returned.

My clinical research focuses on improving outcomes following surgery for prostate cancer. This includes controlling the cancer and restoring normal urinary and sexual function. Together with my colleagues in medical oncology and radiation oncology, we tailor therapy as accurately as possible to each individual’s cancer to control or cure it while minimizing treatment-related side effects.

We’re also starting to investigate the role of local treatment — surgery or radiation — in selected men with low-volume metastatic prostate cancer, meaning that their cancer has spread to a limited number of other sites in the body. Such men have traditionally been treated only with hormonal therapy. We are now investigating using a therapy in which men receive systemic treatment, such as chemotherapy, plus local treatment. The goal is to prolong survival and, ultimately, cure the cancer.

In addition, certain carefully selected men may be candidates for focal therapy, in which just the area of the prostate with the cancer is treated rather than the entire gland. This approach reduces the risk of treatment side effects while still eradicating the cancer.

During the course of my career I’ve given more than 180 invited presentations at meetings and symposia in the United States and around the world. I have also published 300 peer-reviewed studies in prestigious national and international journals.

As a doctor, my focus is on the whole person, not just his disease. I want my patients to be alive, but also to be able to live full and enjoyable lives. 

As a doctor, my focus is on the whole person, not just his disease.

Dr. Eastham

Awards and Honors

  • Castle Connolly: New York Magazine Top Doctors (2010-2018)
  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • Alpha Omega Alpha
  • National Kidney Foundation Research Fellowship Award
  • American Cancer Society Clinical Fellowship Award
  • Lamar Fleming Award-Gene Therapy in Prostate Cancer
  • Patients’ Choice: Rated & Awarded by Patients
  • Best Clinical Paper Published in European Urology in 2011: “Salvage Radical Prostatectomy for Radiation-Recurrent Prostate Cancer: A Multi-institutional Collaboration”

Colleagues

Doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering work as teams, with specialists from all different areas. This allows us to consider all your needs together, and to give you the best possible care.

Clinical Trials

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Find a Clinical Trial for You

Memorial Sloan Kettering's doctors and scientists are constantly developing new treatments for cancer. MSK is typically running hundreds of clinical trials at a given time.

You may be able to participate in a clinical trial even if you are new to MSK. Search our online directory to find trial information and see more about who can participate.

Research and Publications

Books and Book Chapters
“Salvage radical prostatectomy for recurrence of prostate cancer after radiation therapy.” Eastham JA, Scardino PT. In: Comprehensive Textbook of Genitourinary Oncology. 3rd ed. Vogelzang NJ, Scardino PT, Shipley WU, DF Coffey, eds. Baltimore:  Lippincott Williams and Wilkins; 2006: 306-314.

“Nerve-sparing radical retropubic prostatectomy.” Eastham JA, Jarrard DF. In: Atlas of the Prostate. 3rd ed. Scardino PT, Slawin KM, eds. Philadelphia: Current Medicine; 2006: 145-161.

“Preservation of sexual function after treatment for prostate cancer.” Eastham JA. In: Prostate Cancer: Principles and Practice. Kirby RS, Partin AW, Feneley M, Parsons JK, eds. Abington, UK: Taylor & Francis; 2006: 675-682.

“Expectant management of prostate cancer.” Eastham JA, Scardino PT. In: Campbell’s Urology. 9th ed. Kavoussi LR, Novick AC, Partin AW, Wein AJ, eds. Philadelphia: WB Saunders; 2007.

“Cancer of the prostate.” Zelefsky MJ, Eastham JA, Sartor AO. In: DeVita, Hellman, and Rosenberg’s: Cancer Principles & Practice of Oncology. DeVita VT Jr., Lawrence TS, Rosenberg SA, eds. 9th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2011: 1220-1279.

Publications on PubMed

Visit PubMed for a full listing of Dr. Eastham’s journal articles. Pubmed is an online index of research papers and other articles from the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.