Start Your Care
Patients come to The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke through physician referral or as a result of their own search. Once you contact us, you will undergo a careful screening process.
Some patients are candidates for treatment here, while many others can have their needs met most effectively at their local hospital. We will work together to decide what is best for you.
The Musella Foundation's Brain Tumor Guide for the Newly Diagnosed, with an introduction by Henry Friedman, MD, is a helpful resource for you and your family.
The Steps to Becoming a Patient
Patients and/or physicians who would like to begin the screening process can contact us in any of the following ways:
By telephone: 919.684.5301
Online: Appointment Request
All messages are regularly checked during business hours. Our office hours are: 8:00 am to 4:30 pm Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. We will respond to each message. Due to the high volume of incoming calls and messages we receive, we ask that you please allow up to 2 business days for our response.
Please note that we will require all of the following information to begin the screening process:
- Name of patient (and name of parent or guardian if a pediatric patient)
- Telephone number where patient can be reached
- Date of patient’s birth
- Date of diagnosis
- Prior treatment information (i.e. surgery, radiation, chemotherapy)
You will have a brief mini-consultation by telephone to determine whether The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke can meet your needs.
We may review your MRI’s to aid in the decision-making process. If we think we might offer your best hope, we will collect your medical records.
After collecting your records, we will call you to schedule an in-person consultation with one of our physicians and other members of our health care team, including a nurse, an advanced practitioner, a social worker, and others, as defined by your needs.
The initial consultation visit takes place over one to two days. You will have a complete history and physical exam, a neurological exam, and an assessment of your psycho-social needs. We will discuss treatment options and a plan of care for your consideration.
There is no easy solution to a brain tumor diagnosis. What we can do is make it as comfortable and hopeful as possible for you and your loved ones. We sincerely thank you for considering The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke for your care.
Your First Visit
- Your initial consult may involve three or more hours of meetings, so please try to arrive at your appointments well rested.
- Remember to bring all medications and snacks with you.
- Please plan for a possible 2-day visit in case you are identified as a potential clinical trial candidate or if additional testing is recommended.
- Required lab tests or imaging studies may increase the length of your visit, so we encourage you to make any necessary child care or pet care arrangements. You also may consider bringing reading materials, a laptop, or a mobile device. Free wireless internet service is provided in most of our locations.
- Write down any questions you may think of before your first visit and bring them with you.
- Bring paper and a pencil so you can take notes during your appointment.
- Arrange for a friend or family member to come with you. You will receive a lot of information that day. It is helpful to have someone else with you to listen and take notes.
- Please arrange return flights after 5:00 p.m.
- Medications and supplements you are taking
- Medical records that need to be reviewed
- CD’s of most recent MRI brain scans
- Photo ID
- Insurance cards
We work as a team – you and your family are at the center of our team.
The experts at the Brain Tumor Center specialize in using a team approach. Decisions about your treatment are made by the team, and you are a valuable team member. During your care you may need to see the following:
- Neuro-Oncologist - a doctor who is specially trained in the treatment of brain cancer. All the doctors at The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke are neuro-oncologists. They work with other team members to provide your care. Our doctors direct your treatment plan in collaboration with your local oncologist.
- Radiation Oncologist - a doctor with special training in radiation treatment. They plan and direct your radiation therapy.
- Neurologist - Patients who have had a seizure or other neurological symptoms (such as tremors, numbness, tingling, headache, or dizziness) might need a local neurologist to evaluate these problems, prescribe medicines, and monitor progress.
- Neurosurgeon - a doctor with special training to operate on the brain and spinal cord. They help with any biopsy or surgery you need.
- Nurse Practitioners (NPs) and Physician Assistants (PAs) - advanced practitioners with special training to care for patients with brain cancer. They work with your doctor to manage cancer treatment and side effects. They prescribe your medicines, order your tests, and communicate with your local team about your treatment plan.
- Pharmacist - the pharmacists on the team have special training to care for patients with brain cancer. They teach you about your medicines and help watch for side effects. They can teach you how to take your medicines safely.
- Nurses - take care of you while in the hospital and at your clinic visits. They are available during office hours to help you with any questions you may have once you are home. There are also certified medical assistants (CMAs) and registered medical assistants (RMAs) who will help care for you.
- Clinical Social Worker (CSW) - helps you and your loved ones manage the distress that comes with brain tumor diagnosis and treatment. They provide counseling and education to help you and your family cope during treatment. Your CSW can help find the resources you need during treatment.
- Neuropsychologist & Psychiatrist - help manage the distress and effects of a brain tumor diagnosis and treatment. They provide counseling and sometimes medication to help you during treatment and survivorship
- Child Life Specialist - educate and support children and families throughout the cancer journey.
Visit our convenient and secure Web site, www.dukemychart.org, which allows you to:
- View your lab and radiology reports and other health information (including notes from your doctor, if applicable)
- Pay your bills
- Ask your care team a question
- Request prescription refills
- And more
To start using all the Duke My Chart services, visit www.dukemychart.org and follow the instructions to sign up. You can add your children to your account as well so that you can also view their charts. If you have questions about Duke My Chart or need assistance setting up an account, contact the Duke Medicine Customer Service Center at 800.782.6945.