At Stanford, in addition to joint consultations between physicians,
an interdisciplinary brain tumor board meets weekly to review and
discuss patient treatment plans. More than 20 specialist physicians
and nurses in neuropathology, neuroradiology, neurosurgery, neurology
and neuro-oncologiy usually attend.
Within the Stanford
Brain Tumor Center, Recht said, "We have a very strong
group identity. We get along and we meet a lot. We really work well
together; we respect each other's expertise and we usually make our
decisions by consensus."
Another element in the Center's care will be a group of nurses with
special certification in neurological care and social workers
experienced in the needs particular to tumor patients and their
families, with access to resources in neuropsychology, rehabilitation
Seeing the whole picture
"We are very hands-on with our patients," said
Li, MD, who recently joined the team. "Patients might not
be used to doctors actively calling them, making sure everything is
going smoothly and wanting to know what's going on. We think it's our
job to take care of not just the medical issues, but the person and
their family, too."
"We have a heavy focus on counseling for patients. We really
want to hear what they feel and we take the time to do that
thoroughly," said Seema Nagpal,
MD, another new member of the Brain Tumor Center team. "We
know a brain tumor is a tough diagnosis to deal with. A first visit to
us includes time with a doctor, time with our nurses and sometimes
with social work and other support services."
The Center will also connect patients directly with clinical trials
and research at Stanford, where investigations include brain cancer's
cellular biology, cell markers for early tumor detection and genomic structure.
Harsh, also director of Adult
Surgical Neuro-oncology at Stanford, believes that medical
research and clinical care at Stanford is endowed with a
"tremendous and continuous drive for excellence." He has
practiced neurosurgery for more than 25 years and seen many advances
in care. Like his colleagues at the Brain Tumor Center, Harsh has
learned and applied innovations in minimally invasive brain tumor
surgery and imaging technology. "As a team," he said,
"we build on each other's expertise to improve what we can do for
our patients. We are mutually enhancing in our ways of approach and thought."
That new image technology he can now employ is as much about
combining the available in new ways as about inventing new devices.
Stanford's Josef Parvizi, MD, PhD, another member of the Brain Tumor
Center group, is a neurologist focused on human brain mapping. He has
been part of Paulsen's care team.