With extensive experience in complex cancer presentations, the Duke Gastrointestinal Cancer Care team in Wake County simplifies therapeutic approaches to offer prompt, multidisciplinary care in convenient settings.
Because cancer care often requires frequent visits with multiple specialists, the oncology team offers treatment and follow-up care in a convenient setting, with cancer providers from multiple disciplines in a single clinic. Nurse navigators play a significant role in simplifying the patient experience by coordinating the clinic, lab, and imaging appointments, and helping to retrieve records from referring facilities.
“In addition to convenience, our patients benefit from treatment by a comprehensive GI oncology team with experienced surgeons working closely with medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, and other supporting providers," says Garth S. Herbert, MD, a surgical oncologist based at Duke Cancer Center Raleigh on the campus of Duke Raleigh Hospital.
“For most of the care we provide, and certainly for complex pancreatic or hepatic malignancies, patients require a very specialized array of support staff. We bring that experience and specialization together for patient convenience,” Herbert says.
Relationships with referring providers
Collaborative relationships with referring providers are a key element of the Duke team’s ongoing expansion in Wake County and the surrounding region. “We focus on maintaining closed-loop communications with all our referring providers,” Herbert says. “From a surgical perspective, we share our initial plan for a surgical intervention and then follow our patients for the long term, staying in touch with the referring providers as well.”
To guide patients through the clinical complexities associated with GI cancers, the oncology team emphasizes a full continuum of care, Herbert says, by ensuring patients receive post-surgical care that includes surveillance imaging, lab tests, and may include customized nutrition plans and counseling.
“The same approach is not appropriate for everyone. We encounter unique presentations in this disease that we become familiar with only through extensive training and experience,” he adds. “When a new referral comes to us, the individual is evaluated by medical, surgical, and radiation oncologists to determine the best treatment course.”
Nurse navigators guide personalized care
Two dedicated GI oncology nurse navigators guide newly diagnosed patients through appointments, imaging studies, lab tests, and required follow-up visits. The navigators help patients by offering individualized guidance and care, including providing directions to the clinics.
“Our patients go through a whirlwind of activity following diagnosis to determine the stage and extent of the disease at presentation,” Herbert says. “Having those nurse navigators working to assist patients is a huge asset in our approach to patient care, and it makes everything easier for the patients who may be going through a particularly confusing time.”
Herbert emphasizes that medical and surgical expertise is only one part of providing personalized care. “It’s not a simple matter of understanding surgical presentations and procedures,” he says.
“To do the best we can for our patients, it’s important that we become familiar with each patient and the disease as we assess what is the best approach for the combined modality regimen that is usually required in advanced cancers.”
Clinic sites in Wake County
The Wake County team offers oncology care at four convenient sites in the county:
Duke Cancer Center Cary
216 Ashville Avenue
Cary, NC 27518
Duke Cancer Center Cary Radiation Oncology
300 Ashville Avenue
Cary, NC 27518
Duke Cancer Center Raleigh (on the campus of Duke Raleigh Hospital)
3404 Wake Forest Rd.
Raleigh, NC 27609
Duke Gastroenterology Clinic at Brier Creek
10207 Cerny St.
Raleigh, NC. 27617