Joachim Baehring, MD, is a Yale Medicine neurologist and neuro-oncologist, who is the vice chair of clinical affairs for the Department of Neurology. He treats conditions that affect the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nervous system.
Dr. Baehring thinks of the brain as the central processing unit (CPU) in a computer. “That's where everything comes together. That's where information is integrated. That's where new processes are initiated. In a computer, if the mouse breaks, well, you just get a new one and plug it in, and things are back in order. But, if there's something wrong with the CPU, that's not as simple to repair.”
When patients are sitting in our waiting area and see the sign, Smilow Cancer Hospital or Yale Medicine Brain Tumor Program, they sometimes get nervous, he says. However, “I have patients with excellent outcomes,” Dr. Baehring says. “I have patients who can be cured. I have patients who come to me because their doctor may think they have cancer, and I give them the good news that they don't. There are many lesions within the brain that can look like cancer—from strokes to infections and inflammatory disorders.”
When a patient is diagnosed with brain cancer, he likes to assure patients that they are cared for by a multidisciplinary team of outstanding surgeons, radiation oncologists, radiologists, and pathologists.
“I think patients appreciate that we help them close the knowledge gap,” he says. “I think a lot of their concerns come from not knowing what they have. Patients appreciate honesty and the opportunity to be offered clinical trials.”