Brain and Spinal Cord Treatment Options at Penn


Diagnosis

Interdisciplinary Neuro-oncology Tumor Board

Precise diagnosis of the type and progression of the tumor is crucial to the successful treatment of nervous system tumors. The interdisciplinary neuro-oncology tumor board consists of all the doctors and health care professionals needed to accurately diagnose your particular condition and oversee your care.

The entire team meets during a weekly conference. At that time, they review their findings from your clinic visit as well as any medical documents you have provided such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computerized tomography (CT) scans, pathology slides and medical reports. Your lead doctor will then discuss with you the team's conclusions and recommendations.

Treatment

Different treatments are available for those with brain or spinal cord tumors. Some treatments are called standard. This means they are the currently used treatments. Some treatments are being tested in clinical trials. A treatment clinical trial is a study meant to help improve current treatments or obtain information on new treatments.

When clinical trials show that a new treatment is better than the standard treatment, the new treatment may become the standard treatment. You may want to think about taking part in a clinical trial. Some clinical trials are open only to patients who have not started treatment, while others are available during or after treatment.

Treatment options vary depending on your situation.

Talk with your team about the approach that is best for you.

Standard treatments for patients with brain tumors offered at Penn

Surgery

Surgery is used to diagnose and treat adult brain tumors. Even if the doctor removes all the cancer that can be seen at the time of the surgery, some patients may be given chemotherapy or radiation therapy after surgery 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

Penn radiation oncologists are recognized for techniques that target radiation precisely to the tumor site while sparing normal tissue. Penn radiation oncologists are using the latest techniques available including image modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and partial breast irradiation (implanted radioactive material).

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. There are two types of radiation therapy. 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.

Chemotherapy

Penn neuro-oncologists have extensive experience in breast cancer treatment and research; and are leading the way in developing new treatments for brain and spinal cord tumors.

These specialists are actively involved in planning your overall treatment. If you need chemotherapy, they'll oversee this part of your care.

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.

New types of treatment are being tested in clinical trials at Penn.

Proton Therapy

Proton Therapy is the most precise form of radiation treatment for cancer possible, while minimizing damage to healthy tissue and surrounding organs.

The Abramson Cancer Center hosts a wide range of materials and activities that provide education and support to address key areas of concern for cancer patients and their loved ones. We are proud that many of our innovative patient education programs have been recognized by national groups, including the National Cancer Institute's Cancer Patient Education Network.

Our educational materials and support activities help people deal with the physical and emotional consequences of a cancer diagnosis and treatment. They also assist patients and families to resume active lives after treatment.

Our support group meetings provide information on topics of

Read more Support

Diagnosis

Interdisciplinary Neuro-oncology Tumor Board

Precise diagnosis of the type and progression of the tumor is crucial to the successful treatment of nervous system tumors. The interdisciplinary neuro-oncology tumor board consists of all the doctors and health care professionals needed to accurately diagnose your particular condition and oversee your care.

The entire team meets during a weekly conference. At that time, they review their findings from your clinic visit as well as any medical documents you have provided such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computerized tomography (CT) scans, pathology slides and medical reports. Your lead doctor will then discuss with you the team's conclusions and recommendations.

Treatment

Read more Treatment

The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania is committed to helping each cancer survivor find ways to enjoy life to the fullest. We have a nationally recognized program that focuses on the issues that survivors face, called "Living Well After Cancer™."

The LIVESTRONG™ Survivorship Center of Excellence, The Living Well After Cancer Program (LWAC) at the Abramson Cancer Center, directed by Linda A. Jacobs, PhD, RN, is a clinical, research, and education effort focused on early intervention and prevention of disease as the ultimate goal.

The multidisciplinary LWAC Program currently provides care and research opportunities to cancer survivors treated at Penn, the University of Pennsylvania Cancer Network hospitals, and through the Living Well

Read more Living Well


Donna Lee Lista

Donna Lee Lista shares her story.

Clinical Trials

Brain Tumor Trials

Phase III Randomized Trial of the Role of Whole Brain Radiation Therapy in Addition to Radiosurgery... more


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