Summer 2020 Breakthroughs: Message from the Director

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Summer 2020 Breakthroughs cover

Cancer Doesn't Wait for COVID-19

Michael Kastan MD, PhD

IN THE NATION AND IN THE DUKE CANCER INSTITUTE COMMUNITY, THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC LOOMS LARGE. But cancer does not wait for COVID-19.

At DCI, we are continuing to offer cancer care as it should be while reducing exposure risk for our patients, their families, and our staff. You’ll see one example of our DCI team’s creativity and dedication in this issue’s news briefs: The Adult Bone Marrow Transplant team has made at-home care the standard for all stem cell transplant recipients in recovery. In addition, the Duke Supportive Care and Survivorship Center has made all of its core support services available via telehealth. Before COVID-19, across DCI we conducted only a few telehealth visits each month. Our oncology providers are now making nearly 200 telehealth visits each day. We anticipate that telehealth will continue to play an expanded role at DCI.

Even as we are shifting how we provide care, we are innovating in other ways. In our cover story, you’ll read about the continued progress of the Duke Center for Brain and Spine Metastasis and our efforts to become the best place in the nation for patients with cancer that has spread to the brain and spine. As people with advanced cancers are living longer, this challenge is becoming more common for people with many types of cancer.

Also in this issue, you’ll hear from researchers and clinicians who are working together to develop an “exercise prescription”—personalized exercise regimens that make the most of the body’s own ability to fight cancer and to stay strong through the rigors of cancer treatment.

And, you’ll meet one of our breast cancer surgeons who is not only taking great care of patients, but is passionate about reducing health disparities and learning about her patients as people.

None of this life-saving work is possible without our volunteers and donors. Will you please join us?

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Michael B. Kastan, MD, PhD
Executive Director, Duke Cancer Institute
William and Jane Shingleton Professor,
Pharmacology and Cancer Biology
Professor of Pediatrics

This message appeared in the Summer 2020 issue of Breakthroughs, a magazine produced twice yearly by Duke Cancer Institute Office of Development. 

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