If you’ve been recently diagnosed with brain or spinal cancer, you and your family might be overwhelmed with questions and concerns. Your first decision is where to get treatment.
You want a place where you can get the most advanced treatment options available. A place where you are supported by a team of compassionate experts. A place where you are treated as a whole person.
MultiCare Regional Cancer Center is that place. We have the region’s best health care providers in the field of oncology. Our world-class treatment facility offers cutting-edge technology in a welcoming and positive healing environment.
The following tests and procedures may be used to assess the type and grade of brain tumors:
A pathologist views the tissue under a microscope to look for cancer cells. If cancer cells are found, the doctor may remove as much tumor as safely possible during the same surgery.
After the surgery, a pathologist checks the cancer cells to find out the type and grade of brain tumor. The grade of the tumor is based on how abnormal the cancer cells look under a microscope and how quickly the tumor is likely to grow and spread. A CT scan or MRI may be used to find out if any cancer cells remain after surgery.
Sometimes a biopsy or surgery cannot be done safely because of where the tumor formed in the brain or spinal cord. These tumors are diagnosed based on the results of imaging tests and other procedures.
The extent or spread of cancer is usually described as stages. There is no standard staging system for brain tumors. Brain tumors that begin in the brain may spread to other parts of the brain and spinal cord, but they rarely spread to other parts of the body.
Treatment of brain tumors is based on the type of cell in which the tumor began, where the tumor formed in the central nervous system, the amount of cancer left after surgery and the grade of the tumor.
Surgery is the most common treatment for tumors that can be reached surgically. After surgery, some patients may be given chemotherapy or radiation therapy to kill any cancer cells that are left. Treatment given after the surgery, to lower the risk that the cancer will come back, is called adjuvant therapy.
Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing.
External radiation therapy uses a machine outside the body to send radiation toward the cancer. One type of external radiation therapy is hyperfractionated radiation therapy, in which the total dose of radiation is divided into small doses given more than once a day.
Internal radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance sealed in needles, seeds, wires, or catheters that are placed directly into or near the cancer. The way the radiation therapy is given depends on the type of tumor and where it is in the brain.
MultiCare offers image-guided, stereotactic radiosurgery on the VarianÂ® Trilogy System for treating cancer. Stereotactic radiosurgery is a form of radiation therapy that uses 3-D computer imaging to attack tumors and lesions with an extremely precise dose of radiation. Learn more about this treatment option.
Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) is the most advanced form of radiotherapy. IMRT employs a powerful, advanced computer program that plans a precise dose of radiation in three dimensions based on individual tumor size, shape and location. Remarkably, it allows for radiation doses up to 40 percent higher than traditional radiotherapy methods, while sparing close to 70 percent more of the surrounding healthy tissue. Learn more about this treatment option.
Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. When chemotherapy is taken by mouth or injected into a vein or muscle, the drugs enter the bloodstream and can reach cancer cells throughout the body (systemic chemotherapy).
When chemotherapy is placed directly into the cerebrospinal fluid, an organ or a body cavity such as the abdomen, the drugs mainly affect cancer cells in those areas (regional chemotherapy).
To treat brain tumors, a dissolving wafer may be used to deliver an anticancer drug directly to the brain tumor site after the tumor has been removed by surgery. The way the chemotherapy is given depends on the type of tumor and where it is in the brain.
Chris Chen, MD
Umesh Chitaley, MD
Trevor Dennie, MD
Michael Harris, MD
Sasha Joseph, MD
Jack Keech, DO
Lindsey Martin, ARNP
Nehal Masood, MD
Denise Mitchell, ARNP
Lavanya Sundararajan, MD
Troy Wadsworth, MD