A brain tumor diagnosis often leaves patients and their loved ones asking, “Where do I go from here?”

At Penn Medicine, Neuro Oncology Nurse Navigator Eleanor Miller, MSN, RN, OCN, CBCN, has the answers patients and their caretakers need as they navigate brain tumor treatment.

“A brain tumor diagnosis often comes out the blue, and I understand it can be overwhelming,” says Miller. “As a nurse navigator, I’m here to make sure you’re receiving the care, support and guidance you need.”

The Knowledge and Care You Need

Since she is a dedicated brain tumor nurse navigator, Miller has specialized training and knowledge of brain tumor diagnoses, treatment and health system operations. This focus and expertise translates to innovative care and better treatment options for patients.

“I am part of an incredible team, and we participate in disease team conferences, leadership meetings and other initiatives in order to share ideas, collaborate and advocate for our patients and families,” says Miller.

Patients can turn to Miller for clinical expertise and information regarding Penn’s cutting-edge treatment options, including Gamma Knife® therapy, immunotherapy and proton therapy. Miller can also provide information about clinical trials.

“Patients and caregivers can speak directly with me for guidance before they ever come to Penn, and I can explain what we have to offer or who you need to see,” says Miller. “Whether you or your loved one has just been diagnosed or you are looking for a second opinion, I am here and want to provide you with access to the best care so you can get moving on your treatment plan.”

As the saying goes, “It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future.” While the past is not necessarily a clear guide for our future, over the past 90 years, dramatic progress has been made in the field of cerebrovascular neurosurgery. Walter E. Dandy, MD, reported the first case of clipping of an aneurysm in 1936, and this technique was a mainstay of treatment of aneurysms for decades until recently. Although the general idea remained the same for the subsequent 50 years, consider the following major advances over the last 30 years:

  • Detachable coils reached clinical practice in the 1990s as a new treatment for cerebral aneurysms and other vascular disorders.
  • Since then endovascular hybrid operating suites have proliferated, combining the advantages of open and endovascular techniques for cerebrovascular disorders.
  • In the past several years, flow-diverting stents and other devices have come online, advancing endovascular techniques.
  • In 2015, four endovascular stroke trials changed our treatment paradigm for patients with acute stroke. As a result, the indications for mechanical thrombectomy have expanded dramatically, and again the patient has benefitted from the ingenuity of cerebrovascular specialists.