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Brain Tumor Program

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Receiving a diagnosis of a brain or nervous system tumor can be a frightening experience. In addition to absorbing a lot of new information about your or your loved one’s status, you may also be wondering how to pick a care team, what treatments options are available and how this will impact your life.

At Northside Hospital Cancer Institute, we understand this is a challenging time and our multidisciplinary neuro oncology team is dedicated to helping you find the right answers for your specific needs. We are committed to providing world-class care in a local, convenient location. Northside’s neuro oncology team offers a comprehensive scope of services, the latest technology, leading-edge clinical research and compassionate support.

Our Multidisciplinary Care Team

Clinical care for patients diagnosed with a brain tumor or other cancer of the central nervous system is provided by a multidisciplinary team of experts including:

  • Radiologists
  • Neurologists
  • Neurosurgeons
  • Pathologists
  • Medical oncologists
  • Radiation oncologists
  • Palliative care physicians
  • Certified genetic counselors
  • Oncology nurse navigators
  • Clinical research nurses

Regular multidisciplinary neuro oncology conferences provide a forum for these cancer specialists to discuss Treatment Options, including clinical trial eligibility, for each individual patient and agree upon an evidence-based treatment plan. By prospectively discussing cancer cases during conference, patients get the benefit of not just one clinical perspective but more than a dozen expert opinions.

 

Signs, Symptoms and Diagnosis

There are no widely recommended tests to screen for brain tumors. Most brain tumors are found when a person sees a doctor because of signs or symptoms. Signs and symptoms of brain tumors may occur gradually and become worse over time, or they can happen suddenly, such as a seizure.

Cancer (tumors) in any part of the brain may cause the pressure inside the skull to rise. This can be caused by growth of the tumor itself, swelling in the brain or blockage of the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Increased pressure can lead to general symptoms such as:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Balance problems
  • Personality or behavior changes
  • Seizures
  • Drowsiness or even coma

 

Diagnosis of Brain Tumors

Patients may undergo several of the following procedures to confirm a brain or CNS tumor diagnosis and build a subsequent treatment plan:

  • Medical history and physical exam
  • Neurological exam
  • Imaging tests
    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
      • Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA)
      • Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS)
      • Magnetic resonance perfusion
      • Functional MRI (fMRI)
    • Computed tomography (CT) scan
    • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan
    • Chest x-ray
    • Angiogram
  • Brain tumor biopsy
  • Tumor marker test / Gene testing

 

Types of brain tumors include:

Primary brain tumors originate in the brain and may be classified as malignant or benign.

  • Type and grade of the tumor
  • Location of the tumor
  • Whether the tumor can be removed by surgery
  • Whether visible cancer cells remain after surgery
  • Results of genetic mutation testing of the tumor tissue
  • Whether the tumor has just been diagnosed or has recurred
  • Patient’s general health and age
  • Metastatic brain tumors result from a cancer that started somewhere else in the body.

    • The number of tumors in the brain
    • Location of the brain tumor(s)
    • Whether the tumor(s) can be removed by surgery
    • Whether visible cancer cells remain after surgery
    • How well the primary cancer is responding to treatment
    • Whether the primary cancer is continuing to grow or spread
    • Patient’s general health and age

    Treatment

    Our neuro oncology team of experts treat brain tumors and cancers of the central nervous system, as well as the neurological complications resulting from cancer. Northside Hospital Cancer Institute neuro oncology specialists and supportive care team members work together to ensure all patients receive high quality, evidence-based care.

    We offer specialized care for many different types of brain tumors and other cancers of the central nervous system. Examples include:

    • Metastatic cancer in the brain, spine or cerebrospinal fluid
    • Gliomas and malignant gliomas
    • Meningiomas and malignant meningiomas
    • Spinal cord tumors
    • Neurologic complications of cancers

    Learn more about Treatment Options for Brain Tumors at Northside.

    Oncology Nurse Navigators

    Cancer treatment and recovery can be overwhelming, which is why we have an oncology nurse navigator to guide you every step of the way on your journey. Northside Hospital Cancer Institute nurse navigators are registered nurses with extensive knowledge and training in oncology, and they are available to help guide patients after diagnoses and through treatment, educating and supporting them to make informed decisions. They work with radiologists, pathologists, surgeons, oncologists and other specialists to coordinate your treatment plan.

    Support provided by oncology nurse navigators includes:

    • Providing clinical information and education.
    • Answering questions about diagnosis, treatments and any side effects experienced.
    • Starting and helping along communication between the patient and their care team.
    • Providing access to emotional and psychological support including referrals to the right counseling services and support groups.
    • Monitoring your health and overall treatment progress.

    We are ready to give you the support you need. Our services are confidential and available at no cost to you or your insurance company. To learn more about Oncology Patient Navigation or to speak with an oncology nurse navigator, please call (404) 300-2800 or email nurse.navigator@northside.com.

    Support & Survivorship

    Ongoing support is crucial when you are facing cancer and afterward. Northside Hospital Cancer Institute provides a full range of Support and Survivorship programs and services to address the unique needs of brain tumor patients.

    Our oncology nurse navigators facilitate access to Northside Hospital Cancer Institute comprehensive portfolio of patient support services depending upon each patient’s unique needs.

    Clinical Support Services include:

    • Clinical Research Nurses
    • Hereditary Cancer Program and Genetics
    • Oncology Nutrition
    • Oncology Social Work / Behavioral Health
    • Patient Navigation
    • Rehabilitation Services

    Practical and Emotional Support Services include:

    • A Wellness Place
    • Cancer Support Community

    Learn more about Support and Survivorship programs and services available at Northside Hospital Cancer Institute

     

    Northside Hospital - Atlanta

    1000 Johnson Ferry Road NE
    Atlanta, GA 30342
    (404) 851-8000

    Northside Hospital - Cherokee

    450 Northside Cherokee Blvd.
    Canton, GA 30115
    (770) 224-1000

    Northside Hospital - Forsyth

    1200 Northside Forsyth Drive
    Cumming, GA 30041
    (770) 844-3200


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