June 5, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

New York Cancer and Blood Specialists Open Cancer Center in Northern NJ

New York Cancer and Blood Specialists (NYCBS), a collaborative group of oncologists with offices throughout New York, has recently opened New Jersey Cancer and Blood Specialists (NJCBS), a new cancer center in Rutherford, New Jersey. The group, which was originally started by 15 highly respected physicians, has since increased to more than 100 participating doctors in the New York area alone.

Dr. Avi Retter, an Orthodox oncologist living in Bergenfield, completed his hematology and oncology training at the National Cancer Institute/National Institute of Health and has been practicing at the Eastchester Center for Cancer Care, the Bronx/Westchester division of NYCBS, for more than 15 years. His colleague, Dr. Giuseppe Condemi, completed his hematology and oncology training at Montefiore Hospital/Einstein and practices at NJCBS, the New Jersey-based division of NYCBS. Both Retter and Condemi have extensive experience treating cancer patients in the Orthodox community.

“Having treated countless Orthodox Jewish patients, Giuseppe and I are acutely aware of the unique genetic, social and halachic issues that face cancer patients in the Orthodox community,” said Retter.

Retter and Condemi have watched NYCBS expand exponentially over the last decade, largely due to the success of its model, which is far more patient-friendly than what you experience elsewhere.

At some larger institutions, patients receive much of their care from residents and fellows, whereas at NYCBS patients always see their personal doctor. There is a certain level of comfort for patients when their doctor is with them every step of the way, explained Retter. “If something is wrong, it is me they will see or speak to on the other end of the phone should they call in the middle of the night.”

According to Retter, the benefits of a large private entity should not be overlooked. At NYCBS, patients experience a personalized approach to care without sacrificing the services typically offered at larger institutions. They have created an infrastructure that provides a level of financial security necessary to practice the best oncology without cutting corners. It also affords them more leverage to negotiate with insurance companies and drug companies, ultimately translating into better opportunities for patients. “We are also extremely proud of our extensive clinical trial network where we can offer our patients access to a broad array of many exciting new and experimental therapies,” added Retter.

NYCBS also provides access to other in-house amenities that are typically outsourced. Patients can consult with a nutritionist and a palliative care doctor on staff, and at certain practices, physical therapists and psychologists are available as well.

As a group, NYCBS offices share medical records and protocols, so a patient can be seen at any of their locations. “We never turn someone away,” said Retter, “we simply work later.” The culture in the office prioritizes the patient, he said. “We don’t go home until every lab is reviewed and every patient’s phone call is returned.”

Dr. Condemi takes a similar approach to patients at his office in New Jersey. Condemi, who has been taking care of patients in the Bergen County community for the past 20 years, has developed quite a following among the Orthodox population. His reputation has since extended to communities in Rockland County as well.

At the new cancer center in Rutherford, patients undergoing treatment are cared for in a warm and welcoming environment. “We want patients to feel calm and relaxed and interact with each other and our staff,” said Condemi, whose goal is to provide exceptional care in a comfortable setting.

NJCBS is one of the only comprehensive independent cancer centers in Northern New Jersey and offers its patients a much different experience than those going for treatment at a hospital-based cancer center. The accessibility alone is noteworthy, said Condemi, who understands the value of a treatment center designed with the patient in mind. At hospital centers, the experience of getting from one place to another can be exhausting, and that’s before the treatment even begins. NJCBS has created a space that is sensitive to the patient and makes the treatment process both convenient and comfortable.

As a physician, he believes in a fundamental set of values that drives the way he practices medicine. “We are here to serve,” said Condemi, who tells patients to call him if needed day or night and even gives out his cell number so he can easily be reached. “We deal with serious illness and not everything is good news,” he added, and therefore says it is essential that patients feel they can turn to their doctor at any time.

For Condemi, what his patients think of him defines who he is as a physician. “Our mentality is very straightforward,” he said: “treat every patient like family.”

As an Orthodox Jew, Retter brings a certain level of comfort to his patients who know he is there to field questions surrounding halachic concerns related to treatments or medications. His patients feel comfortable not only discussing these concerns, but confident that he knows the answers or will consult with rabbinical authorities on their behalf.

“At the end of the day,” Retter says, “cancer patients are fighting for their lives; at NYCBS/NJCBS we do everything we can to be there for our patients in every way possible.”

For more information, please call Dr. Avi Retter at 718-732-4000 or visit www.nycancer.com, or Dr. Giuseppe Condemi at (201) 500-4958 or visit www.njcancer.com.

By Andrea Nissel

 

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