Ten Minutes with Dr. Anthony Cahan
A Breast Surgeon
Photo by Megan Haley
Dr. Anthony Cahan’s thoughtful-yet-modern approach to breast-cancer treatment has benefitted countless Bedford-area women, who don’t have to travel to Manhattan to receive cutting-edge care. Besides serving as chief of breast surgical services at Northern Westchester Hospital (where he was named physician of the year in 2010), Cahan is also a clinical assistant professor of surgery at New York Medical College and an adjunct clinical professor of surgery at Cornell University Medical College.
How did you come to live in Pound Ridge?
I’ve been coming to Mount Kisco and Bedford since I was a little boy. I grew up in Manhattan, and I thought this was really the country. Then in 1987, I went into private practice. I had one child and another on the way. I realized how hard it was to afford an East Side rental. My father had bought a house on Indian Hill Road with a carriage house. He let us stay there while we looked for a house. I schlepped into the city every day and loved every minute of it. In 1992, I found an antique house on Route 121 in Pound Ridge and have lived there ever since. It was built in 1767 and is one of those old, original Cross River/Bedford/Pound Ridge houses. It’s seen so many things, and yet is still standing.
What brought you to Northern Westchester Hospital?
First of all, to be totally frank, the commute had lost its charm. But also, a very vibrant and young CEO named Joel Seligman and Dr. Phil Bonanno had a vision to build a breast cancer center here. Their vision was a marriage of plastic surgery and breast oncology at a level of integration that had never been found in the city. I was surrounded by Ivy League, state-of-the-art guys and gals practicing in a beautiful setting. I can’t duplicate this in the city.
What should women know about breast care?
Despite all of the conflict in the news, mammography and general awareness is extremely important in preventing death from breast cancer. Mammograms save lives. Women need appropriate routine screening. Mammogram and gene awareness should start at age 40.
And what should they know about breast cancer?
Breast cancer is one name of a disease, but it represents a potpourri of diseases of the gene cells of the breasts. Following that theme, there are treatments we are giving women before surgery that are erasing tumors. You do the surgery because we are not comfortable with it yet. But drugs given before surgery have killed every cancer cell in a woman’s body. Though these treatments are not for everyone, we will chip away by dividing up and treating each cancer with a rightful, targeted approach. Also there are myriad surgical options not available 10 years ago that should be explored. Any woman who is entering the tunnel, as scary as it is, should do due diligence. The whole spectrum of cancers can be treated. One day, I may not be necessary. And that would be just dandy.
What gives you joy?
I get phenomenal joy from my family. I am an avid fisherman, and one of the great things is, ten minutes from my house, I am fishing at least ten different species of fish, 365 days a year. I don’t have to even leave Westchester. It’s just heaven.