New Therapy Available at Montefiore for Lymphoma and Leukemia Patients

The Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care is a leader in the treatment of cancers of the blood, bone marrow and lymph system. Patients have access to technologically advanced facilities and a wide range of advanced therapies, including surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy and radiation therapy.

The Center for Cancer Care's array of radiation therapy services now includes total skin irradiation, which is used to treat leukemia and late-stage mycosis fungoides, the most common type of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. Montefiore is one of the only medical centers in the New York metropolitan area to offer this treatment.

Total skin irradiation, also known as total skin electron beam or total skin electron irradiation, uses electron beams to treat the whole skin surface of the body, rather than a specific area. Radiation penetrates the outer layers of skin, but does not affect the organs or tissues below. This therapy, which is delivered over a period of six to 10 weeks, is often recommended for patients who haven't responded to other treatments.

"If a patient has just an isolated lesion, we have a lot of standard electron treatments that can treat a small area with a margin to it," says Maury M. Rosenstein, MD, Attending Physician, Radiation Oncology, Montefiore, who oversees the program. "But when it comes to patients with widely disseminated cutaneous lymphomas of the skin, the only way to put the cancer into remission is to use the total body treatment. Patients usually respond; it can be a wonderful, life-saving and palliative therapy."

"In the past, we have had to refer patients with limited means to New Jersey or Connecticut, but now we're able to offer this specialized service right here in New York, where there is a real need," Dr. Rosenstein adds. "This new therapy complements our total body irradiation and marrow transplantation services for advanced lymphomas and leukemias, meaning we're now able to offer patients an even more comprehensive range of therapies."

At Montefiore, patients with lymphoma and leukemia are assessed by a multidisciplinary team of medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, bone marrow transplantation physicians and coordinators, hematologists and immunologists, and other trained clinical experts, who work together to develop a comprehensive, individualized treatment plan.

Montefiore is also committed to providing family-centered care in a nurturing environment, which is why patients are offered a full spectrum of support services. From nutritional guidance to complementary and alternative therapies, including yoga and stress management, the focus is on treating the whole patient.

For more information about total skin irradiation at Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care, or to refer a patient, call 718-862-8840.