Brain and spine cancer care in Nashville | Ascension
Man having coffee; specialists at Ascension Saint Thomas deliver advanced care for brain and spine cancer.

Brain and spine cancer care in Nashville

Cancer specialists at Ascension Saint Thomas in Nashville, Tennessee, deliver compassionate, personalized care for brain and spine cancer.

At Ascension Saint Thomas in Nashville, Tennessee, our experienced brain and spine cancer specialists are part of a national team of doctors, sharing best practices and advanced treatment options for central nervous system cancer, including brain and spinal tumor care – bringing the best of oncology to you, close to home.

When you choose Ascension Saint Thomas, you get a multidisciplinary team, prioritizing early and customized personalized treatment: board-certified, fellowship-trained neurosurgeons, neurologists, neuroradiologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, care navigators, and a dedicated team of oncology nurses, dietitians and other cancer specialists. Your doctors and care team will deliver a customized care plan for your cancer from diagnosis through survivorship. We treat many types of brain and spinal cancer, including:

  • Benign tumors, such as glioma and colloid cyst
  • Malignant tumors, such as 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.


When you’re going through cancer care, we’re by your side

Woman speaking with a nurse.Cancer is personal, so is the way we care for you. You’ll find that at Ascension Saint Thomas, you’re never alone. You’ll have face-to-face visits with your doctor, and you’ll have an entire care team, dedicated to your care – connecting the dots for you. Your doctor and care navigator will take the time to answer all your questions – big and small. By getting to know you and working together, you get a care plan that’s customized to your needs. And with a plan, comes hope. Our goal is to help you recover faster so you can get back to home, family, life, and self. 

Team approach helps navigate tests and support services

Along the way, your care may require imaging, lab tests, pharmacy, support, speech therapy, physical therapy or other specialists — you do not have to navigate your care alone. Upon your cancer diagnosis, or when you come to us during your cancer care, you’re paired with a cancer care navigator. Your care navigator will help you schedule appointments, connect with other services you need, and support you along the way. When you have a concern or feel unsure, don’t hesitate to talk with your care team and ask your questions.


Benefits of our approach to brain and spine cancer care

Cancer specialists who know you and your condition review your treatment and progress. They work together to customize your overall care plan, to support your physical well-being and mental and emotional health.

Ascension Saint Thomas provides comprehensive cancer care, including:

Diagnostic tests: Biopsy tests are used to evaluate brain cells and spinal fluid for cancer cells. Advanced imaging procedures help your doctor diagnose all types of brain disease, including primary brain cancer and secondary brain cancer (cancer that has spread to the brain from another part of the body).

Neurosurgeons: Experienced surgeons specializing in brain and spine care deliver advanced surgical and minimally invasive care with an enhanced recovery process to remove noncancerous brain tumors and brain cancer tumors and lesions and spinal cancer. When possible, your surgeon saves as much healthy tissue as possible by using advanced surgical techniques.

Medical oncology: Medical oncologists work with your surgeon to deliver advanced care (chemotherapy and targeted immunotherapy) to help stop cancer spread.

Radiation oncology: Radiosurgery and advanced radiation therapy is used to target and destroy cancer cells while avoiding damage to the surrounding healthy tissue.

Clinical trials: If you want to learn more about other possible cancer care options, talk to your doctor. You may want to ask whether cancer clinical trials are the right option for you.

Speech-language pathologists: Speech therapists deliver personalized therapies to help stimulate speech pathways as needed after surgery.

Support programs and resources: Your cancer care team provides support, from nutrition education and counseling to cancer support groups, yoga and spiritual care. And, our healing gardens and chapels are always open to you and your loved ones. We offer supportive care and activities for the whole you. 


Get a second opinion on your cancer diagnosis or care plan

Man speaking with a nurse.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 Saint Thomas. 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 have received 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 a national team.

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. 


Frequently asked questions about our brain cancer care services

  • What is your cancer center known for?

    Your doctor and care team get to know you well, and you’ll receive care for the whole person – your physical and mental health. We also provide compassionate, personalized support for your family and caregivers. At Ascension Saint Thomas, we provide innovative medication treatments, the latest surgical technologies and techniques, high-tech radiation facilities and support services. Our brain cancer specialists are part of a national team of cancer specialists sharing the latest in cancer care knowledge and research.

  • What tests are used to diagnose brain cancer?

    Your care team focuses on identifying if the tumor is non-invasive or invasive and to determine where the tumor began and whether or not the cancer has spread. Diagnostic blood testing, imaging and endovascular procedures can help your doctor diagnose your condition and stage even the most rare cancers. And we use advanced molecular and genetic studies to recognize brain cancer subtypes to create a care plan for your type of cancer.

  • Who is on my cancer care team?

    Hearing the word cancer comes with a lot of thoughts and emotions, and we’re ready to support you. You'll meet with your doctor to discuss your diagnosis and your care options.Your care team may include a:

    • Neurologist
    • Neurosurgeon
    • Neuroradiologist
    • Medical oncologist
    • Brain and spine nurse navigator
    • Oncology-dedicated dietitian and social worker
    • Palliative care specialist
    • Physiatrist (for neurorehabilitation)
    • Radiation oncologist
  • Who should I contact when I have questions?

    At Ascension Saint Thomas, you get an entire team dedicated to your care. You may have a lot of concerns and questions. Your doctor and care team are ready to listen and answer your questions. Working together, we offer services that help support your treatment plan, including managing headaches, vision changes, problems with balance, medications, appetite changes, sleeplessness, fatigue and mood changes. Your care team stays connected throughout your care to discuss your treatment and progress.

  • Is financial assistance and support 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. Your cancer care navigator can connect you to a financial counselor.

  • Where do I park?

    At our cancer center and clinics, we offer convenient parking, by a valet if needed. Talk to your care navigator if you have transportation needs.

  • My doctor told me about an enhanced recovery program, what is that?

    Surgical oncologists and anesthesiologists provide 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 treatment, to help speed up your recovery after surgery. Your care team uses these protocols to help you prepare for what to expect before, during and after surgery.

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