James A. Eastham is Chief of Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Urology Service, specializing in prostate cancer. He will be practicing at Memorial Sloan Kettering’s new suburban outpatient treatment center in West Harrison, New York, which is opening in October. We spoke to Dr. Eastham about the new outpatient center and why he’s excited to be offering his services to the Westchester community.
Can you tell us a little bit about what you’ll be doing in West Harrison?
My practice is basically centered on prostate cancer, and usually it’s early-stage prostate cancer including screening issues and treatment — ranging from active surveillance for low-risk disease (closely following the condition without treatment unless there are changes in test results) through multimodal treatment strategies for high-risk disease. My team also focuses on prostate research in all areas. For example, I’m co-principal investigator of a study that is looking at inflammation in prostate cancer.
A great thing about West Harrison is that we plan on having all of our research protocols available to patients who we see in Westchester. Research leads to treatment advances. At our West Harrison facility, we will provide an opportunity for patients to participate in clinical trials who might otherwise not have been aware of or sought these options. Memorial Sloan Kettering has been a leader in clinical research for many years, but unfortunately this was limited to the Manhattan campus, which isn’t always accessible to every patient. West Harrison is an opportunity to hopefully bring state-of-the-art care to the community.Back to top
Do you think West Harrison will be more convenient for your patients?
Absolutely. Actually patients have already heard about it; several patients who see me in clinic have said, “I hear you’re going up to Westchester. When does that place open?”
Additionally, one particular benefit, I think, of being in this location is that it will make active surveillance for prostate cancer easier for many patients. MSK researchers have been at the forefront of refining screening guidelines — our website even has a risk-based screening approach to try to eliminate the number of unnecessary biopsies while not missing important cancers. Overall, we have a very robust active surveillance program. Many men diagnosed with prostate cancer don’t need treatment, which is something we’ve again been at the forefront of advocating — the balance between over- and under-treatment.
This facility will make active surveillance easier for people because it requires that they see a specialist at least twice a year. In addition, while there are many treatment options for clinically localized prostate cancer, not all centers are able to offer everything we can. Most centers tend to offer what they do rather than offer what might be best for the patient. At MSK we don’t simply offer one approach. We base treatment recommendations on the risk posed by the cancer rather than overemphasizing a particular treatment option. Fortunately, at MSK, we have experts in all areas of treatment. Once a decision regarding therapy is made the patient can be assured he will receive state-of-the-art care from an expert in the field.Back to top
Are you from the West Harrison area?
Yes! I have two boys. They both graduated from Irvington High School. I have lived on the border of Tarrytown and Irvington since 2001. Technically I am in Tarrytown, but the school district was Irvington School District. I enjoy both of these river towns, which have plenty to offer.Back to top