Every cancer is unique. That’s why we treat each patient uniquely through comprehensive, patient-focused care.

We understand how overwhelming a cancer diagnosis can be. Learning more about your diagnosis can help alleviate these feelings. At ECU Health, we equip each and every patient with an unparalleled treatment team, support system and customized care plan to ensure you are receiving the best possible care.

Types of Cancer

A diagnosis of brain cancer is frightening, as the brain controls and regulates the body’s physical processes and the things that make us individuals — our thoughts, memory, behavior and emotions. But at ECU Health, a powerful combination of expertise and technology offers great hope. Common diagnoses include astrocytomas, glioblastomas, meningiomas, neuroblastomas and pituitary tumors.

Here, you have access to the most advanced minimally invasive procedures, radiosurgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy regimens. Technologies such as the Gamma Knife® Icon™, the CyberKnife® and GammaTile® give our specialists and patients more options than ever before in effective treatment of brain cancers and other disorders.

A breast cancer diagnosis is not only scary, but also very personal. It’s critical for women to be vigilant in early detection, when treatment is more effective. You can optimize your breast health with preventive care — breast awareness and self-exam, regular clinical exams and mammograms. Our specialized services — including genetic counseling and testing, individualized screening and/or chemoprevention plans — may also benefit those with a family history or other known risk factors.

No two breast cancers are the same. A series of tests on the cancer and nearby tissues creates a “profile” of your unique breast cancer. Your treatment plan will be developed based on that profile and may involve surgery, radiation and systemic therapies (including hormone therapy and targeted agents), or a combination of these. Our minimally invasive techniques for biopsies and surgeries are effective in removing the cancer while conserving healthy breast tissue.

Accredited by the National Accreditation for Breast Cancer Programs (NAPBC), our multidisciplinary care teams of highly-trained specialists, including medical and radiation oncologists, breast surgeons, radiologists, pathologists, nurse navigators, nutritionists, genetic counselors and more, are committed to finding the best and most effective solutions for your unique journey.

Gastrointestinal cancers affect the digestive system and, as a group, represent the most common types of cancer. Our specialists work with you to identify the cancer and its stage, as well as its confined space or spread. Symptoms vary across these cancers. Your treatment plan will be specific to all of these factors. Using innovative diagnostic and treatment tools and technologies, your multidisciplinary care team will ensure you are fully informed about your cancer type and treatment options.

These cancers include:

Many people are reluctant to seek medical attention for symptoms of cancers involving urinary and genital (reproductive) organs because of their personal and private nature. The good news is these are some of the most treatable forms of cancer when caught early. Regular screenings and proactive care for symptoms are essential to effective treatment.

You’ll find the latest screening, diagnostic and treatment services for these cancers at ECU Health. Your care may include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy or a combination of these. Urology specialists have offices throughout the region, giving you easy and convenient access. Your care team understands that your journey is not only about treating the disease but also about returning you to some basic and personal functions of life.

Genitourinary cancers include:

Gynecological cancers begin in the reproductive organs. A woman’s body is designed to do amazing things, and her complex reproductive organs will change during her lifetime, from before puberty to after menopause. A diagnosis can be very emotional, particularly if it comes during childbearing years.

At ECU Health, we provide comprehensive care, experienced specialists and the latest treatment techniques and technologies for gynecological cancers. Your care may include minimally invasive procedures like cryosurgery and laser surgery, or hysterectomy if yours is more involved or advanced. Radiation and chemotherapy may be combined or used independently.

ECU Health is part of the Gynecologic Oncology Group, a national cooperative that develops new therapies for malignancies using the highest standards of scientific research and clinical trials.

The main types of gynecological cancer include:

There are several types of cancer that start in the head or neck regions. These cancers may be treated with surgery, radiation, chemotherapy or a combination of these. Your care team will determine which options are best for you based on your exact cancer type and its stage. Your physician may seek a confidential review by the multidisciplinary tumor board for head and neck cancers to share expertise and discuss potential treatment options. This collection of experience can identify the most viable and effective treatment options for your cancer. 

Head and neck cancer can include and affect these areas:

Blood cancers affect the production and function of blood cells. Most start in the bone marrow, where blood is produced. The three main blood cancers include leukemia (caused by the rapid production of abnormal white blood cells), lymphoma (which starts in cells that are part of the body’s immune system), and myeloma (a disease that targets plasma cells). New treatments and therapies are discovered often, and the skilled specialists at ECU Health are committed to knowing about and using these developments for your benefit.

Some specific hematology-related cancers that we treat include:

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. Fighting lung cancer can be stressful and challenging. Our care team is ready to help you fight.

Early detection is critical for treatment and survival. ECU Health developed a screening tool for current and former smokers ages 55-77 who qualify. It is available at each of our hospitals and is helping us detect lung cancer sooner and at a higher rate than the national average.

Our multidisciplinary approach to lung cancer care gives you access to physicians and surgeons, pulmonologists, oncologists, nurses, social workers, pharmacists, nutritionists and other professionals who work not only with you but also with each other to create the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy or a combination of these. Learn more about our thoracic team.

Thoracic Oncology Clinic patients benefit from the latest diagnostic and treatment tools, including:

  • New chemotherapy agents
  • Chemoradiotherapy
  • Bronchial stenting and balloon dilation
  • Cryotherapy (freezing) and electrocautery (burning)
  • PET/CT scans for more accurate staging
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery for early stage patients who are not surgical candidates
  • Clinical trials

The main types of lung and thoracic cancer include:

Skin cancer is the world’s most common type of cancer, often caused by ultraviolet radiation exposure. Because of its prevalence, it’s important for you to know the facts and risk factors. Treatment with us involves close collaboration among specialists on your care team, including dermatologists, oncologists and plastic surgeons as needed. Your plan of care is tailored to your unique skin cancer and health status and might include surgery, laser therapy, radiation and/or chemotherapy. Sometimes, immunotherapy and targeted therapy may be used.

Avoiding overexposure to the sun should be a lifetime habit. Early detection with routine self-exams and skin screenings provide a better chance for effective treatment.

Types of skin cancer include:

Soft tissues hold the body together and include muscles, tendons, fat, blood vessels, nerves and more. Many soft tissue lumps are not cancerous. Even so, it’s important to be aware of lumps and changes in your body and to seek medical care.

Soft tissue cancers vary based on locations in the body. Two specific types treated at ECU Health include Ewing Sarcoma — which can start in either the bone or in non-bony soft tissue — and Leiomyosarcoma — which starts in involuntary smooth muscles like those in the stomach, intestine and blood vessels.

Treatment depends on the cancer’s type, stage, size and location. Your age and general health will also influence your treatment plan. Surgery and radiation are used to remove, destroy or control cancer cells in one part of the body, and/or chemotherapy may be used as a systemic treatment throughout the body. Targeted therapies – special drug compounds designed to block certain cancer types – may also be helpful.

No matter how rare or complex your cancer is, ECU Health Cancer Care gives you access to the latest diagnostic and treatment tools. Our specialists across the region work with you and collaborate to ensure the best plan for your unique situation. In fact, each soft tissue cancer case is presented to our multidisciplinary team for review and feedback.

If you’ve been diagnosed with another form of cancer, you can count on ECU Health Cancer Care to provide the highest level of clinical expertise and comprehensive support for your cancer journey.

For less common cancers, our multidisciplinary consultations, team case reviews, navigator partners and personalized treatment plans become even more important. We use the latest treatment protocols and technologies to ensure you receive the most advanced care available. Your specialists not only provide outstanding clinical care, but also work together to provide the best options for you and your family – involving you every step of the way.

Some of these less common conditions include: