Meet 2015's Top Doctors

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Meet Cynthia S. Chin, MD

Specialty: Thoracic Surgery
Practice  White Plains Hospital Physician Associates 
Hospital Affiliation: White Plains Hospital, White Plains

As the director of the Women’s Cancer Program Services at White Plains Hospital, Dr. Chin says she was drawn to pursue a career in oncology because of the patients who inspire her. “I find patients who are faced with cancer or the possible diagnosis of it to be remarkable human beings. It is extremely rewarding to be part of their care during this time. I find every case I do meaningful. Every patient and their family dynamics and disease are unique. I always feel honored to be a part of their care.” Why thoracic oncology in particular? “It allows me to combine my enthusiasm for cancer patients with my love for performing surgeries of the chest.”

Chin, who grew up in Croton-on-Hudson and attended Cornell University and SUNY Stony Brook for medical school, says practicing in Westchester just feels like home. “Although I live in the city, I feel like I came home when I started practicing here. I feel a real bond with my patients that is partly due to the fact that they work, live, and/or raise their families where I grew up.” 

Who is most susceptible to lung cancer?

Eighty percent of women and 90 percent of men with lung cancer have a smoking history. Smoking is far and away the No. 1 cause. Other causes include asbestos, radon, and other environmental exposure. 

Do women face different risks then men?

A greater percentage of women with lung cancer have never smoked compared with their male counterparts. We really don’t know the reason for this, but the medical community is currently trying to figure it out.

What is your advice on how to lower your chances of getting lung cancer?

My best advice is to never start smoking and, if you do smoke, to quit immediately. Although a higher amount of cigarette smoking increases the risk for lung cancer, there is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke.  A landmark article in The New England Journal of Medicine published in 2011 showed that lung-cancer screening with chest CAT scans can save lives. Smokers or former smokers should ask their primary-care physicians if they qualify for a chest CT scan. In 2012, we started a free lung-cancer screening program at White Plains Hospital. This was done in an effort to help the community combat lung cancer, which has a high mortality if found at advanced stages. The idea of lung-cancer screening is that we find early, potentially curable, cancer. The program is successful and still accepting patients. Readers who are over 50, smoked a pack a day for 20 years or more or half a pack a day or more for 40 years and are current or former (quit last 20 years) smokers should call (914) 681-2365 to see if they qualify for a lung-cancer screening CAT scan.

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