Advanced care for brain and spine cancer
When you have a brain or spine cancer diagnosis and choose cancer centers and brain and spine clinics at Ascension sites of care, you get a care team that is part of a national network. Our experienced cancer doctors share best practices and the latest in cancer treatment and research – bringing the best of cancer to you. Every appointment with your oncologist and neurological specialist starts with a compassionate conversation. Your doctor answers your questions and gets to know you. So, you get a personalized cancer care plan. And with a plan, comes hope. We will help you navigate your care and will be by your side every step of the way, connecting the dots. Our goal is to help you get back to home, family, life and self sooner.
Brain and spine cancer diagnosis and treatment close to home
You’ll have face-to-face visits with your doctor, and you’ll have an entire care team, dedicated to your care. Diagnosing a brain or spine tumor starts with a comprehensive neurological exam. Your care may include advanced brain and spine tests, and neurosurgery and therapeutic treatment options from a multidisciplinary team of specialists, including neurosurgeons, neurologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, cancer pathologists, physical medicine and rehabilitation doctors and other cancer specialists.
Brain and spinal cord tumors are usually found because symptoms are getting worse over time. Symptoms may include:
- Balance problems
- Blurred vision
- Personality changes
- Seizure or coma
If you are experiencing a medical emergency, go directly to the ER or call 911.
Brain and spine specialists at Ascension sites of care provide advanced tests to diagnose all types of brain and spinal tumors – using imaging studies (fMRI, CT brain scan, CT angiogram and PET brain scan), blood and cerebro-spinal (tap) fluid tests, gene mutation and molecular marker tests, and biopsy. Our goal is to work to pinpoint the tumor and identify where the tumor started and if the cancer traveled to the brain from another part of the body. Working together, your oncologist, radiation therapist and neurosurgeon develop a highly specialized surgical and therapeutic treatment plan, customized for your type of primary brain cancer (tumors that are only in the brain or spine), including:
- Benign tumors
- Colloid cyst
- Malignant tumors
- Glioblastoma (a sub-type of astrocytomas)
- Brain metastases (cancer that has spread to the brain from a different part of the body)
- Skull base tumors
- Spinal tumors
Brain and spine specialists also deliver advanced, compassionate and personalized care for meningioma, a rare condition which develops in the membrane that surrounds the brain and spinal cord.
Treatment for brain cancer with enhanced recovery options
If your care plan includes brain or spine surgery, neurosurgeons at Ascension sites of care use the latest surgical techniques to help improve your recovery and your quality of life. Your care team may also refer to enhanced recovery pathways as part of your surgical care plan. They are an important part of our cancer treatment programs. Each pathway is personalized for different types of cancer treatments to help speed up your recovery after surgery. Throughout your care, your team uses these protocols to help you prepare for what to expect before, during and after surgery.
Across our national network, we also deliver high-tech radiosurgery and radiation therapy (such as EBRT, SRS/SRT, IMRT and brachytherapy), and medication therapies (chemotherapy and immunotherapy) for many types of cancer delivered by highly trained specialists. If you want to learn more about other possible options, talk to your doctor. You may want to ask whether cancer clinical trials are the right option for your care.
Team approach helps navigate tests and support services
Along the way, your care may require imaging, lab tests, pharmacy support, neurorehabilitation, speech-language pathology, nutrition counseling, supportive palliative care, spiritual care and other specialists – you do not have to navigate your care alone. Your care team will help you schedule appointments, connect with other services and support groups, and answer your questions. From your first consultation and throughout your ongoing care, you and your doctor will stay connected through in-person and virtual visits. When you come into the clinic for your appointments, know that we’re maintaining strict precautions to keep you safe in our care. And your entire care team discusses your treatment and progress. As your care needs change, we’re ready to support you.
Get a second opinion on your cancer diagnosis or care plan
Get the confidence and peace of mind that your doctor and care plan are right for you. It's easy to get a second opinion at Ascension sites of care. We can review your medical records and healthcare history to answer your questions and discuss options. Talk with one of our doctors about a personalized care plan.
When you are facing a new brain cancer diagnosis or are deciding on a surgical or therapeutic treatment plan, there’s a lot to think about. Our cancer specialists can provide a second opinion, based on our experience and as part of an integrated national network of care.
Before your appointment, check with your insurance company to find out if a second opinion is covered. We can request your medical records on your behalf, so that they can be shared with your care team before your arrival.
Financial assistance and support is available
We can connect you with resources and programs that may be able to help you and your family with options for financial assistance. Our financial counseling team is here to listen to your concerns and work with you to help find options that meet your needs.