We believe in life without cancer.
ECU Health is transforming cancer care in eastern North Carolina. The physicians and staff are dedicated to delivering the highest quality, evidence-based care in order to give new hope for renewed life. We aim to provide ready access to screenings and prevention, early detection and intervention, and high- quality, coordinated patient care.
At ECU Health, we take every step of the cancer journey with you. Dedication, compassion, hope and healing are more than just words to us. We treat all types of cancer with the latest technologies and highest clinical standards. ECU Health’s holistic approach to care also includes preventive measures, educational resources, clinical trials, and support and survivorship services.
We believe in the power of early. Early detection and early treatment can make a tremendous difference in your life and the lives of those you love. Knowing your risk can give you the power of early. No matter what you need, it’s all here.
ECU Health Cancer Care is not a single place. It is a fierce commitment to turn the tide against cancer for eastern North Carolina. It is a mission to improve the health and well-being of the 1.4 million people who call this region home — because we believe in life without cancer.
Screenings are crucial to catching cancers in early stages. Power Up is a series of free, educational events that are held across the system to increase cancer awareness and encourage men and women of all ages to participate in early detection and cancer screenings.
The events and screenings cover different types of cancer and vary across the region. To learn more about upcoming events in your area, visit the Events page or contact ECU Health Oncology Outreach at 252-847-9507.
Cancer Care Expertise
Why ECU Health Cancer Care?
When you become our patient, your unique case is thoroughly reviewed by providers with expertise in your specific condition – including oncologists, surgeons, nurses, therapists and more. Together, they work to understand every aspect of your condition and create the best treatment plan for you.
The most important person on your cancer care team is you. We will keep you informed every step of the way and explain your diagnosis and treatment options in ways that everyone can understand.
ECU Health Cancer Care offers many of the newest screening tests and treatments, including minimally-invasive surgical techniques and other breakthrough technologies – often before other health care providers have access to them.
When you’re dealing with cancer, it’s important to have easy access to the medicine and supplies that are crucial to your treatment. The ECU Health Cancer Center Pharmacy provides convenient access to cancer prescription medications and specialty items.
No matter where you live in eastern North Carolina, you have access to the knowledge and expertise of providers dedicated to treating cancer. The network of ECU Health-supported cancer care spans nine hospitals, five radiation oncology sites, three joint ventures and numerous outpatient clinics. The epicenter of these resources is the Eddie and Jo Allison Smith Tower at ECU Health Medical Center in Greenville. The 418,000-square-foot facility is home to both inpatient and outpatient cancer services under one roof, making treatment for patients much more convenient.
Many patients come to ECU Health seeking a second opinion after receiving a cancer diagnosis from another provider. This can help you make a more informed decision about your treatment and care options. At ECU Health, those seeking second opinions receive the same comprehensive evaluation available to all new cancer patients.
There’s no time to rest in the fight against cancer. As the leading resource for academic medicine in eastern North Carolina, our partnerships with providers offer advanced treatment options and care plans for patients across the region. With new technologies, providers can collaborate real-time with multidisciplinary teams of experts working together to create a customized treatment plan for your unique cancer journey. ECU Health Cancer Care is not a single place. It is a fierce commitment to turn the tide against cancer for eastern North Carolina. It is a mission to improve the health and well-being of the 1.4 million people who proudly call this region home – because we believe in life without cancer.
Your doctor may refer you to see a genetics counselor and have genetic testing if you have a personal or family history of cancer. Please call 252-816-2273 for an appointment or to speak to a nurse, please call 252-816-RISK.
For additional information about genetic risk assessment, cancer syndromes, testing and counseling please go to the NCI website.
Genetic testing starts with an educational session that includes the process for testing, privacy acts, consents, and other information and/or considerations. The education session covers many of the topics discussed in the video below and allows for you to ask questions before moving forward with genetic testing. Click here for more on Genetics Education.
Pre-Test Genetics Counseling
Pre-test Counseling for genetics is completed via the telephone or through an online portal. This counseling helps you to understand if you meet the guidelines for testing, gives you an opportunity to ask more questions if needed, and helps to determine what genetic tests best meet your screening needs.
After the pre-test consult is complete, in consultation with your physician, a genetic panel is recommended for testing. The selected panel will include a varying number of genes to be included for testing. Once the gene panel is selected you will be called to provide a sample for testing. You may choose to have the test completed via bloodwork at our lab or provide a saliva sample through an at-home mail kit.
Once the result comes back from the lab, you will be notified and setup with a post-test consultation. The results will be one or a combination of the following for each specified gene.
- Positive Genetic Test Results could alert you to a significantly higher probability of getting cancer at an early age and throughout life. Although 10% of cancers come from predetermined genetics passed through your parents, this subset of patients may have a 5-fold increase in cancer risk. This may lead to increased and/or early screening. Most enhanced screenings that meet the guidelines are covered by insurance and in some cases preventative surgery may also be covered by insurance as well.
- Negative Test Results do not eliminate your cancer risk, but are a reassuring finding. Through the genetic consultation process we look at all risk factors utilizing an evidence-based approach. As a result of the genetic consulting session, the 5-year and lifetime risk for various cancers are numerically calculated and given to you. This information may still qualify you for high-risk screening and/or you may speak to a provider about reducing those risk factors.
- A Variant of Unknown Significance (VUS) is neither positive nor negative. It simply means the identified mutation or variant is still being researched. Most VUS’ often result in transitioning to negative, however there still remains a small risk of it becoming positive as some point in the future as well. Updates on the significance of these findings will be communicated by the testing company.
Since your panel may contain many genes, there could be many variations of results containing Positives, Negatives, and VUS’.
Once the result is communicated to you, it is important to speak with a Board Certified Genetics Counselor, to better understand the meaning of your results. During the post-test consultation, a genetics counselor will review next steps such as:
- For a Positive result, it may mean notifying family members of the need to have testing completed and providing them forms to receive possible free testing. A positive result will include a numerical value of your lifetime cancer risk for various types of cancers so that you can be referred to high risk screening, surgical oncology, or lifestyle medicine.
- For VUS or Negative results, patients are also assessed for their personalized screening needs based on their lifetime risk score as well as utilizing the evidence-based models that looks at more than just genetic risk.
Treatments & Technologies
The types, locations and stages of cancer are extensive. That’s why the selection of treatments and technologies available to you with ECU Health Cancer Care are also comprehensive and extensive. Each cancer is different than the next, and each treatment plan is unique to that cancer — and to you. Services across eastern North Carolina make getting care easier and more convenient. So pay attention to changes in your body, health status and symptoms that linger, and be vigilant with age-appropriate health screenings and early detection programs.
- Open, laparoscopic and robotic surgery
- Comprehensive surgical staging and sentinel lymph node mapping
- Chemotherapy (cytoxics and biological agents)
- Radiation therapy/Stereotactic radiosurgery
- Genetics testing/counseling
- Clinical trials
- Advanced imaging
- Tissue banking
- Collaboration with Duke
- Laboratory testing including next generation sequencing
- Lifestyle medicine
- Optical Surface Motion System (OSMS)
- Prostate seed implants
- PSMA (Prostate-Specific Membrane Antigen)
- SAVI® Breast Brachytherapy for Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation
- Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT)
- Three-Dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3D-CRT)
- Varian TrueBeam™
- Xofigo (Radium 223)
What to Expect
No matter where you live in eastern North Carolina, you’re not far from the highest quality medical, educational and emotional resources you need. We are here to provide help and hope to cancer patients, survivors and your families.
With ECU Health, you have access to the latest screening and testing tools and technologies. We work with you, your primary care physician and specialists, and other members of your health care team to quickly diagnose your condition, including proper staging. Rest assured that we will do what it takes to learn and know your condition and health status before recommending treatment options.
Our multidisciplinary team treats your cancer with the latest technologies and the highest standards of clinical quality. Your tailored treatment plan will consider cutting-edge surgical practices, including radiosurgery and minimally invasive procedures, as well as advanced radiation and chemotherapy regimens. Alternative therapies such as genetic testing, immunotherapy or clinical trials may also prove beneficial for you.
Awards & Accreditations
By assuring exemplary clinical performance and exceptional care, the team at ECU Health delivers award-winning service every day. We understand that even the smallest details can improve patient care and help us make a big impact in the lives of our patients. Accreditations certify competence and care standards that meet or exceed national benchmarks. Hospitals that pursue such validations are always striving to improve quality with evidence-based practices in an increasingly safe environment.
- Magnet Recognition
- 1IN9 Grant
- Community Hospital Center of Excellence – Thoracic Oncology
- CEO Cancer Gold Standard™
- American College of Surgeons (ACS) Commission on Cancer, Academic Comprehensive Cancer Program
- National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (ACS)
- Accreditation in Radiation Oncology by American College of Radiology (ECU Health Radiation Oncology)
- Specialty Pharmacy Accreditation by Accreditation Commission for Health Care
Cancer Care News
Stay up-to-date on all things ECU Health Cancer Care with the important headlines below. Visit the Newsroom for news and information from across the health system.