Patient & Caregiver Information
The Duke Center for Brain and Spine Metastasis at DCI is the most comprehensive destination program in the country for patients with any cancer type that has spread to the brain or spine. Our premise is rapid, streamlined, one-stop access to the latest and most advanced treatment options for patients that may not be available at other locations. At Duke, we take people from forgotten to focus.
Our center offers state-of-the-art treatment options to patients including; surgery, stereotactic radiation therapy, chemotherapy, laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT), targeted therapies, immunotherapy and access to clinical trials for patients who have a new/first time diagnosis, as well as for those who have experienced a recurrence since previous treatment. Importantly, Duke provides additional access to many crucial support services (counseling, physical therapy, nutrition, and more) in order to offer compassionate and comprehensive care to patients and their families.
Why Choose Duke
Our center prides itself on offering patients and their loved ones the opportunity to have access to field leaders under one setting within our center's multidisciplinary program:
Our team provides patients access to:
- Neurosurgeons specializing in brain and spinal metastasis management. Our LITT (Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy) is offering patients access to a minimally invasive procedure that is offering some patients with brain metastasis a new treatment alternative
- Radiation oncology team, offering state-of-the-art, image-guided, high definition stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) technology and techniques
- Medical oncology team, with a high focus on identifying clinical trial opportunities for you within Duke or across other centers nationwide
- Palliative Care/Supportive Care team; play a vital role in assisting patients manage common symptoms such as steroid related side effect management and pain associated with spinal disease, together with providing additional support for yourself and your loved ones
- Patient Navigation/Coordinator: Patient Navigation Team, enabling rapid access and a coordinated experience for the patient and family when visiting Duke
Rapid Access To Our Team
Our center prides itself on providing rapid access to all aspects of care within the center. We are committed to seeing patients with brain and/or spinal metastases within 72 hours (or sooner) to establish a treatment plan with our team of specialists. This includes patients with newly diagnosed cancers, even if the pathology (final diagnosis) is not yet confirmed.
A further signature of Duke is that we provide a central point of contact (one number/one person) via a patient navigator, making it easier for referring providers and/or patients and their loved ones to contact us regarding a new referral.
Our patient navigator works with patients or their referring providers to arrange all of the necessary appointments and tests and/or other investigations required. For patients who are coming to Duke for a second opinion, our navigator will work to collect all the necessary medical records needed to make the visit a comprehensive and worthwhile experience for both patients and their family.
To speak with our patient navigator, to refer a patient to the center or to make an appointment with any of the providers within the center, please call 919.681.3038.
Personalized Multidisciplinary Care
Patients with brain and spinal metastasis have complex needs that require input and intervention from specialists spanning many disciplines. Our team is comprised of International leaders in their respective fields, including radiation oncology, neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, medical oncology, neuroradiology, neuropathology, palliative care, interventional pain management, and neuroplastic surgery. These experts work together to deliver a treatment plan that is unique to the needs of each individual patient.
The center’s weekly tumor board brings together all of the above specialists, using a collaborative approach from experts across all specialties to determine the best option/s for each individual patient.
We understand that each patient and his or her cancer is unique. Therefore, the greatest chance for success comes by designing a personalized plan specific to one’s values and treatment goals. Furthermore, in the evolving era of personalized and precision medicine, we now have the opportunity to use specific details from a patient’s cancer to design treatments specifically designed to target their tumor alone. In addition to personalized care, our center will also provide access to cutting-edge treatments through clinical trials dedicated to patients with brain and spinal metastasis.
In order to create a personalized treatment plan, you may meet with multiple specialists. This ensures that the entire team has all the important information throughout each step of your care. Patients and family members have direct access to the patient pavigator throughout the entire consultation and treatment process, to help guide them through the many components and complexities of care.