This is why the ongoing work at by Winship's Brain and Spinal Tumor Program is so special. Highly qualified and recognized globally, our team of neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists, medical neuro-oncologists, neuro-pathologists, neuro-radiologists, and neuro-ophthalmologists are dedicated to providing comprehensive, patient and family-centered care, and to developing innovative new treatments.
The benefits to you as a patient of our multidisciplinary and highly experienced teams include:
- Access to doctors and surgeons who rank among the top brain and spinal cord tumor experts in the world.
- Weekly review of challenging patient cases by the Adult Brain Tumor Conference which includes experts from each specialty treating brain tumors.
- Coordinated scheduling for appointments among various specialties.
- Access to a nurse navigator to assist you throughout the treatment process.
- Availability of new treatment options for brain tumors and neurological cancers within our clinical trials program.
- Access to the Brain and Spine Tumor Support Group at Winship where you and your caregivers can learn about current therapies and share your experiences.
- Access to supportive services including patient rehabilitation, counseling and pain management.
Request an Appointment
If you have been diagnosed with a brain or spine tumor, we are ready to help you. Call us at 1 (888) 946-7447 or (404) 778-1900 to make an appointment with a brain tumor specialist. Winship experts are also available for a second opinion.
We understand that this is a very stressful time. We welcome your questions and requests for help. Learn what to expect on your first visit.
These tumors may arise from the brain and spinal cord or may spread there from other locations in the body. Tumors can be either benign, meaning non-cancerous, or malignant, meaning cancerous. There are several malignant types of brain tumors diagnosed in adults including an aggressive form called glioblastomas. Other malignant types of brain tumors include ependymomas and oligodendrogliomas.
Even a benign brain tumor can be dangerous. As a tumor grows, it compresses normal tissues causing malfunction, inflammation and swelling of the brain and spinal cord. It is therefore important that symptomatic benign and malignant brain and spinal cord tumors be treated as early as possible.
Brain and spinal cord tumors are diagnosed in various ways including:
Physical and neurologic exam: a physician checks general health, mental status, power, sensation, reflexes and coordination.
Imaging: CT scans, MRI scans, myelogram (used to detect a tumor in the spinal cord) and/or angiogram (used to assess tumor related blood vessels).
Biopsy: a sample of tissue is removed for examination. A biopsy is the only sure way to diagnose a brain tumor.
Investigational imaging: Earlier detection of tumor growth or useful response to therapy are the goals of new imaging methods including magnetic resonance spectroscopy, magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging, and new tracers for positron emission tomography. All of these are being fostered at Emory and are offered whenever possible to patients with nervous system tumors to assist in the development of these technologies.
It is also important to know that your chances for having the best possible outcome are highest in the hands of a medical team that is experienced in treating tumors in the brain and spine.
Surgery: Depending on the grade and location of the tumor, surgical options range from minimally invasive endoscopic treatment to complex skull base surgery. Language preservation surgery is performed with functional MRI, or awake craniotomy mapping. Motor skills preservation surgery is also performed with functional MRI and intraoperative cortical and subcortical mapping. Minimally invasive Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy, novel implantable therapeutics, tumor fluorescence and state of the art surgical techniques are utilized specific to your individual tumor.
Radiation therapy: Frequently used in the brain and spine to destroy tumor cells while minimizing damage to healthy tissue, radiation treatment options offered at Winship include: external beam radiation (intensity-modulated radiotherapy and on-board imaging), and Linear Accelerator-based and Gamma Knife© radiosurgery, a minimally invasive alternative to surgery.
Proton therapy: Proton beam therapy is the next generation of radiation oncology. It uses protons to precisely treat cancerous tumors throughout the body and can be more precise than conventional forms of radiation treatment. The Emory Proton Therapy Center is the only center of its kind in Georgia to offer patients access to this advanced form of radiotherapy.
Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is often used in conjunction with other therapies to treat brain cancer. The cancer-killing drugs can be delivered through an IV, orally or in slow-release wafers.
Targeted therapies: Winship's most promising research in treating brain and spinal cord tumors is in personalized medicine and targeted therapies. In personalized medicine, researchers identify unique characteristics of tumors that make them vulnerable to known drugs so therapy can be tailored to an individual's cancer. In targeted therapies, investigators look for new drugs that selectively target cancer cells with fewer side effects.
Clinical Trials at Winship
Consider talking with your doctor about participating in a clinical trial at Winship. Through these trials, you may have access to treatments that are not widely available.
Supportive Oncology Care
In addition to delivering the highest quality clinical care, we recognize the importance of the emotional and psychological aspects of living with a cancer diagnosis and of dealing with treatment. Our supportive oncology team addresses these issues in a timely manner with additional support from nurse navigators, counselors, dietitians and social service professionals.
Our support group for people with brain and spinal tumors and their loved ones at Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital provides an opportunity for you to connect with others who are going through or have been through a similar experience.
Your Treatment Team
- Physician Diagnosticians
- Nurse Navigators
- Adv Practice
- Support Services
- Clinical Trials
- Dr. Olson specializes in the neurosurgical treatment of brain and spinal cord tumors and the development of novel diagnostic imaging and therapeutics for them.
- Director, Clinically-related Neuro-oncology Laboratory, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
- (404) 778-5770
- A board certified neuro-oncologist, Dr. Voloschin treats patients with primary brain tumors, as well as metastatic diseases to the nervous system and paraneoplastic neurologic syndromes.
- Associate Professor, Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology , Emory University School of Medicine
- (404) 778-1900
- Dr. Read is a medical oncologist who cares for patients with gynecologic malignancies, brain tumors, cardiac tumors, sarcomas of soft tissue and bone and complicated skin cancers.
- Associate Professor, Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
- (404) 778-1900
- Dr. Whitmore is an interventional radiologist with a clinical practice encompassing the full spectrum of minimally invasive vascular and non-vascular interventional radiology procedures.
- Assistant Professor, Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine
- (404) 778-4747
- Dr. Zhong practices general radiation oncology and specializes in the treatment of central nervous system malignancies, including brain and spine tumors, and head and neck cancer.
- Assistant Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
- (404) 778-3473