Being diagnosed with brain cancer is life-changing for you and your family and you’ll naturally want the highest quality of brain tumor treatment. Both benign (noncancerous) and malignant (cancerous) brain tumors can cause symptoms that require treatment, such as personality changes, headaches, confusion, difficulty with balance or speech, vision problems, and seizures. Brain cancer may begin in the brain or spread to the brain from elsewhere in the body, which is called metastasizing.
Centura Health brain tumor treatment specialists include board-certified neuro-oncologists, radiation oncologists, and neurosurgeons as well as neuroscience nurses, rehabilitation therapists, psychologists and other team members. These specialists work together to determine a precise diagnosis using advanced technology and then develop a unique treatment plan for your unique condition and needs. Our advanced brain tumor treatment capabilities include:
- PET, CT, and MRI imaging along with on-site biopsy for accurate diagnosis and, if cancerous, accurate staging and genetic profiling
- Intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT)
- Craniotomy and awake craniotomy surgery
- Transsphenoidal surgery
- Minimally invasive treatments, including minimally invasive laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT) and nonsurgical stereotactic radiosurgery
Our expert brain tumor teams
Nationally recognized neuroscience specialists at Centura Health are leaders in the region for brain tumor treatment. Our multidisciplinary teams bring together neuro-oncologists, neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists, and neuro-trained nurses and rehabilitation specialists for life-changing and lifesaving care. It’s a strategic approach to neuroscience care that unites best practices, emerging technology, and skilled professionals to provide whole-person care that feels coordinated, warm, and compassionate to our patients. Our expert brain tumor teams include:
- Neuro-oncologists serve as the quarterback of your brain tumor team, developing treatment plans that involve all the disciplines from surgery to rehabilitation. In the cases where the brain cancer is metastasized from elsewhere in the body, the neuro-oncologist coordinates care closely with your primary medical oncologist to develop a cohesive approach to treatment.
- Medical oncologists coordinate chemotherapy, including new targeted therapies and immunotherapies, either alone or in conjunction with surgery and/or radiation therapy to treat the brain tumor or, in the case of metastasis, the primary cancer.
- Neuro-pathologists are physician scientists who examine tissue samples to determine the type and stage of cancer along with any genetic characteristics that could qualify the patient for specialized treatments, such as targeted therapy drugs that seek out and destroy just the cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone.
- Radiation oncologists are experts in determining the type and timing of radiation therapy to achieve the best clinical outcome while also optimizing your quality of life.
- Nationally recognized fellowship-trained neurosurgeons provide nonsurgical treatments, such as stereotactic radiosurgery, minimally invasive procedures such as laser ablation, and traditional and awake brain surgery to remove tumors.
- Dedicated critical care hospitalists and intensive care nurses with specialized training in neurosciences provide 24/7 care in our Neuroscience Intensive Care Units to carefully monitor patients and spot and address indications of possible problems early.
- Specially trained neurorehabilitation therapists assess a patient’s cognitive, speech, and motor skills to develop customized rehab programs including physical, occupational and speech therapy to help you regain as much function as possible after treatment.
- Neuropsychologists: Brain tumors and treatment can impact a patient’s cognitive (thinking) function and cause changes in personality, behavior, or mental health. Neuropsychologists are specially trained to evaluate patients for these changes and, if needed, develop customized treatment plans. Treatment can include training on use of memory aids, problem solving, or behavior modification. Researchers have found that the brain can reorganize to help reduce the impact of neurological conditions, even in elderly patients.
Residents of Colorado, Kansas, and neighboring states in the Rocky Mountain region benefit from our nationally regarded neurosciences program for the treatment of brain and skull base tumors. Our multidisciplinary teams rely on the most up-to-date treatment options available, including the latest targeted therapy drugs, sophisticated radiation therapy techniques, navigational cranial software and stereotactic radiosurgery to treat benign and malignant brain tumors. We pride ourselves on providing a whole-person approach to care, offering a range of services including clinical trials, psychosocial support services, and nurse navigation.
Brain tumor treatment planning
Your treatment plan will depend on a number of factors, including the exact type and location of your tumor or tumors, the stage of your cancer, your age, and your general health. Often treatment plans include multiple types of treatments and could even include the three main types of treatment for brain tumors: surgery, chemotherapy/medial therapy, and radiation therapy.
Centura Health’s brain tumor experts offer a variety of treatments using the most advanced technology and procedures now available. Brain tumor treatments offered by Centura Health brain tumor experts include:
- Radiation therapy and/or stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS): These nonsurgical treatments use precisely targeted radiation beams to destroy cancer cells. Small, deep, asymptomatic or multiple tumors often are best treated with radiation or SRS. Centura Health offers the latest in nonsurgical treatments for brain tumors, including stereotactic radiosurgery, intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT), and image-guided radiotherapy and radiosurgery.
- Chemotherapy: Using oral or intraveneous drugs to deliver cancer-killing medicine is called chemotherapy. Advanced types of medical therapy offered at Centura include targeted therapy, which uses drugs that identify and attack cancer cells based on unique genetic characteristics. This reduces side effects by limiting exposure of healthy cells.
- Surgery: If your brain tumor is causing symptoms or growing and it can be removed without damaging nearby nerves or tissues, surgery is often recommended. Our neurosurgeons offer various types of surgery, including craniotomy, awake craniotomy, and transsphenoidal surgery. Minimally invasive laser ablation, also called laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT), also is available.
- Glioblastoma portable treatment: For appropriate patients with glioblastoma, Centura neurosurgeons may recommend use of a portable therapy that creates low-intensity, wave-like electric fields called Tumor Treating Fields (TTFields). These TTFields interfere with GBM cell division, which can slow or stop tumor growth.
Radiation therapy is often used in treating brain tumors to either slow or completely stop cancer cell growth. Centura Health radiation oncologists and neurosurgeons use a variety of advanced radiation therapy procedures to treat brain tumors. They may use radiation therapy on its own or conjunction with surgery and/or chemotherapy to treat your brain tumor. Advanced radiation therapy technologies available at Centura Health include:
- 3-Dimensional Conformal Radiation Therapy (3D CRT) uses computers and advanced imaging to deliver external-beam radiation therapy that conforms to a tumor’s specific shape and size, which reduces exposure of healthy tissue and limits side effects.
- Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT) delivers a targeted dose of radiation directly to the tumor site during surgery. This direct radiation treatment helps to destroy any microscopic tumor cells that may be left behind and reduces the risk of recurrence.
- Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) monitors the movement of tumors and other structures to ensure that treatment is both safe and accurate. It is particularly useful when the tumor is located close to critical radiosensitive structures such as the optic chiasm, optic nerves, and brain stem. IGRT has been used as a boost dose for these indications to deliver a high dose to the tumor bed without increasing the risk of complications.
- Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) shapes the radiation to a tumor’s size and shape and reduces exposure to healthy tissue by creating multiple small beams of radiation that converge at tumor’s focal point.
- Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is a nonsurgical procedure used to treat benign and malignant tumors in or near the brain. SRS aims high-intensity beams of radiation at the tumor from multiple angles. It offers a fast, precise, non-invasive treatment for brain tumors that meet specific criteria in terms of size, location, and number. SRS is extremely effective in the right cases, taking typically one to five sessions and causing little or no side effects. The treatment is done on an outpatient basis, with the patient going home the same day and returning to normal activities the day after. SRS can be performed using a variety of technology platforms.
Centura Health offers specialized neuroscience centers that provide advanced neurosurgery to remove brain tumors, pituitary tumors, and skull base tumors. Our expert neurosurgeons use advanced technology and procedures to provide patients with the best outcomes possible. Some of these advanced procedures include:
- Minimally invasive brain surgery: Also called keyhole or endoscopic brain surgery, these procedures allow the neurosurgeon to remove tumors through small openings about the size of a dime. This reduces the risk of damage to healthy tissue, blood vessels, and nerves.
- Fiber tract mapping: Centura Health neurosurgeons use this advanced technology to map the connections in the brain. High-definition fiber tracking, also sometimes called brain mapping, is imaging technology that makes the connections in the brain visible to the human eye. Neurosurgeons use high-definition fiber tracking to determine the best path to use to reach a tumor without harming any brain function. They then use the same technology during surgery to guide them.
- Craniotomy: Neurosurgeons perform this surgery to remove brain tumors. Craniotomies are most often performed with the patient asleep. However, Centura neurosurgeons also perform awake craniotomy, which is used to protect critical brain areas that control speech and other skills while removing nearby tumors. During awake craniotomy, the patient is sedated while part of the skull is removed and then reattached at the end of the surgery. During surgery, sedative medications are stopped so that the patient can wake up to answer questions to allow the neurosurgeon to map the brain centers that control speech and other functions. The neurosurgeon then uses this map to safely reach and remove the brain tumor.
Brain tumor recovery
Neurosciences intensive care units
After brain surgery, many patients will recover in a specialized neurosciences unit in the hospital. Some patients may need extra care and will recover in dedicated Neurosciences Intensive Care Units. These specialized ICUs are staffed by intensive care physicians, nurses, therapists, and other medical support professionals with advanced critical care training as well as expertise in neuro assessment and emergency neuro resuscitation. Providing comprehensive, specialized neurosurgical care throughout your hospital stay from pre-admission to recovery has been shown to improve your sense of well-being and decrease the amount of time you stay in the hospital after surgery.
While in the neuro ICU, you will be closely monitored with frequent assessments as well as electroencephalographic (EEG) monitoring. In addition, the staff uses ventilator mechanics, cardiac telemetry, chemical analysis, and blood pressure monitoring to proactively detect and address issues early.
Neurosciences rehabilitation programs
Following brain tumor treatment, our neurorehabilitation team helps you achieve your highest level of function and independence. By offering physical, occupational, and speech therapy in one location, our skilled therapists provide a comprehensive evaluation and personalized treatment program utilizing all approaches to meet your unique needs.
Neuro rehabilitation teams
Our patient-focused program involves you and your family in every step of your recovery. By focusing on your abilities and capabilities, our dedicated team creates an individualized care plan that addresses your physical as well as your social and emotional health. Your personalized treatment plan may include working with a variety of therapists. These include:
- Neuropsychologists who will evaluate and monitor your cognitive, behavioral, and mental health throughout your treatment and develop a customized therapy plan to address any changes.
- Speech/language pathologists treat deficits in swallowing, speech, voice, and/or cognition in the domains of attention, memory, and executive skills.
- Physical therapists treat mobility, vestibular and coordination deficits using traditional treatment approaches as well as with pool therapy and dry needling.
- Occupational therapists treat difficulties with activities of daily living and address upper body rehabilitation.
Find a brain tumor specialist
The most common symptoms of a brain tumor include:
- Headaches, new onset or progressively worsening in severity or frequency
- Changes in vision such as blurred or double vision or the loss of your peripheral vision
- Hearing problems
- Unexplained nausea and/or vomiting
- Cognitive and/or speech difficulties
- Personality changes
- Arm or leg weakness, usually on one side
- Trouble balancing
- Confusion and/or or difficulty making decisions or following simple commands
A brain tumor is an abnormal growth in or on the brain. Tumors can be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous). They can be primary, which means they originated in the brain, or metastatic, which means they have spread to the brain from another cancer such as lung, breast, colon, kidney, or melanoma. The most common types of brain tumors are acoustic neuroma, glioblastoma, glioma, meningioma, pituitary tumors, and brain metastases (also called “brain mets”). Symptoms and treatment are often determined by the size and location of the tumor—for example, whether the tumor is in the frontal or temporal lobe or on the brain stem.
A CT scan takes X-rays from different angles which are combined to create a 3-dimensional image of your brain that shows tumors or other abnormalities. The CT scan is used to determine the size and location of the tumor. Other types of imaging also may be used including MRI
Centura Health has created a comprehensive ecosystem of neuroscience care to ensure that families in every community we serve have access to the appropriate care either locally or through one of our specialized centers of excellence. Centura provides neurosurgery throughout Colorado and Kansas.
The nationally recognized board-certified neurosurgeons at Centura Health place us among the leaders in the region for brain and nervous system surgery (neurosurgery). Our team of neurosurgeons is experienced in using the latest brain tumor treatments including laser interstitial thermal therapy (laser ablation) and stereotactic radiosurgery to offer the most innovative minimally invasive and nonsurgical treatments available. Centura neurosurgeons have specialized training, called fellowships, in brain tumor treatment from leading educational institutions such as Mayo Clinic.
Bain tumor treatments at Centura Health that use radiation include intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT), three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3D-CRT), radiotherapy, and stereotactic radiosurgery.
The survival rate for brain tumors depends on many factors including your age and overall health; the size, type, and location of the tumor; whether the tumor is malignant or benign; how advanced the tumor was when diagnosed; and whether it’s a primary brain tumor or if it has metastasized from another part of the body. Your oncologist can discuss this with you based on your unique situation.
At Centura Health, excellent care merges with the healing power of compassion to assess and treat a wide variety of conditions affecting the spine, brain, and nervous system, including both benign and malignant brain and central nervous system tumors. Our team of highly skilled physicians from multiple specialties, advanced technology, and innovative programs benefit residents of Colorado and neighboring states, as well as the Rocky Mountain Region’s many visitors.
Centura Health is the region’s largest health care network, and it has one very important mission. Your health and wellness guide everything we do. We celebrate the value of each person's life as we seek to combine medical expertise with a compassionate touch to holistically care for a person’s body, mind and spirit. As a faith-based, non-profit organization, we are dedicated to ensuring our communities flourish. Our associates play an integral role in the success of our health care network to touch, treat, heal and inspire health.