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Our neuro-oncology program offers specialized and expert care, featuring a multidisciplinary team of doctors and medical support professionals who take the time to provide individualized care and answer any questions you may have. Our neuro-oncology program is a partnership between Banner – University Medicine’s Neurosurgery experts and Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center.  Our teams collaborate to provide exceptional care and advanced forms of treatment and are committed to your health and wellness.

What Is Neuro-Oncology?

Neuro-oncology refers to the study and treatment of tumors of the nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord. Our team of neuro-oncologists also provide cancer neurology care, which focuses on treating neurological complications due to cancer or cancer treatments (chemotherapy, radiation and surgery). These neurological complications can include seizures, headaches, neuropathy or abnormal skin sensations, cognitive changes, speech and movement disorders and more.

Why Is Neuro-Oncology Important?

Neuro-oncology addresses the intersection of cancer and neurology, which is why we approach care from the perspective of treating cancer and treating the effects that cancer can have on brains and nervous systems. Our neuro-oncology team is composed of top experts in their field with unique training and certifications that set them apart. Plus, they are committed to staying on the cutting edge of cancer diagnosis and treatment findings so that they approach every patient armed with the best information and tools at their disposal. Banner MD Anderson has received the prestigious designation as a Diagnostic Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology. When you visit our neuro-oncology program, you can be confident that you’re getting the most up-to-date information, resources, support and care.

The multidisciplinary nature of our neuro-oncology program means your treatment plan is considered and informed by a variety of perspectives and specialties. Multiple opinions in one collaborative team of well-established experts in their fields. As part of our multidisciplinary approach, we do more than treat your cancer, we also treat you holistically, offering support for your physical recovery and helping you manage the emotional and mental impact a cancer diagnosis can have. To provide this level of well-rounded care, we incorporate the expertise of palliative and supportive care medicine as well as partner with the psycho-oncology program to address various aspects of your wellness. 

What Conditions Does Neuro-Oncology Treat?

There are several conditions that fall under neuro-oncology, including:

  • Tumors of the Central Nervous System (CNS, brain and spinal cord)
  • Tumors of the Peripheral Nervous System (PNS, nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord)
  • Benign brain tumors
  • Malignant brain tumors, both primary and metastatic, meaning they originated elsewhere in the body and have spread to the brain
  • Disorders such as seizures, headaches, neuropathy, paralysis, tremors, sensory disturbances, and other issues caused by cancers or their treatments
  • Nervous system radiation necrosis (a complication that can arise from high-dose radiation treatments)

Initial Neuro-Oncology Diagnosis & Second Opinion Clinics

Many patients come to our multidisciplinary team for an initial evaluation and are determined to have a neuro-oncology condition. However, some patients arrive at our neuro-oncology program having already received a diagnosis. In these cases, we take the time to provide our own diagnostic assessment to ensure that no aspect of your illness is overlooked. Our diagnostic approaches and tools include:

  • Thorough Neurological Examinations can identify easy to miss signs of tumors or nerve dysfunction and is the first step in providing an accurate diagnosis and builds the patient relationship for excellent care 
  • PET/CT Scans can detect and highlight tumors or other diseased tissues as well as differentiate between benign and malignant tumors
  • Perfusion Weighted MRI provides insight into how blood flows to and around the brain and helps to identify active tumor areas
  • Tractography is an MRI application that can create a 3D model of the brain inclusive of the nerve tracts and white matter
  • Fluorescent probes will illuminate tumors differently than healthy tissue to map out the size and scale of tumors
  • Extensive Laboratory Testing can be used to evaluate body fluids for evidence of cancer or cancer risk
  • Skilled Neurosurgery & Neuropathology Care provides a definitive tissue pathology confirmation of a brain tumor diagnosis
  • Molecular Neuropathology is a final innovative and advanced step to further individualize treatment and targeted tumor care for our patients

Treatment and Support for Neuro-Oncology

Cancer treatment at Banner MD Anderson’s Neuro-Oncology program is focused to provide an individualized patient treatment plan designed by a team of experts. We have access to some of the latest tools and treatments based on evidence and years of collective neuro-oncology experience. Treating a person and not just a diagnosis is how we offer a breadth of specialized clinical and alternative supportive care teams and their respective innovative approaches including:

  • Palliative/Supportive Care
    • Advanced symptom management and family/caregiver support
  • Medical Neuro-Oncology
    • Clinical trials, advanced molecular targeting therapies, device-based therapies, skilled tumor surveillance, compassionate care with patient-facing and caregiver support groups, and women’s neuro-oncology care
  • Neurosurgery
    • Highly skilled surgical options, laser therapy, clinical trials, GammaTile brachytherapy and other device placement
  • Radiation Oncology
    • Specialized neurological training, GammaTile brachytherapy, skilled physicists for tumor mapping and treatment planning
  • Neuropathology
    • Advanced molecular and genetic tumor testing
  • Neuroradiology
    • Advanced brain tumor imaging protocols
  • Psycho-Oncology
    • Neurocognitive, mood, and advanced coping strategies
  • Integrative Medicine 
    • Acupuncture, massage, other alternative supportive therapies
  • Support groups and patient-based advocacy groups

With the Neuro-Oncology program at Banner MD Anderson, you can be confident in the care you are receiving from our committed and compassionate doctors, nurses and health care professionals.