This is why the ongoing work at the Brain Tumor Center at Winship Cancer Institute in Atlanta, Georgia 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.
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.
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. Watch the video to learn more about Gamma Knife© radiosurgery at Winship. Learn more about radiation therapy treatments and services.
Proton therapy: Proton 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, currently under construction and set to open in late 2018, will be the first center of its kind in Georgia to offer patients access to this new, state-of-the-art radiation therapy.
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.
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.
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.
Your Treatment Team
- Physician Diagnosticians
- Nurse Navigators
- Adv Practice
- Support Services
- Clinical Trials
- Dr. Ermentrout is a board certified 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) 712-7033
- Dr. McDonald specializes in the treatment of head and neck, gastrointestinal and lung cancers, skull base tumors, and tumors of the brain and spine, as well as proton therapy.
- Associate Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
- (404) 778-3473
- 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
- Dr. Oyesiku is an internationally recognized pituitary surgeon and has one of the most active neurosurgical practices devoted to pituitary surgery and medicine in the country.
- Director, Laboratory of Molecular Neurosurgery and Biotechnology, Emory University School of Medicine
- (404) 778-5770
- Ms. Pietras leads the coordination of clinical research for the melanoma and neuro-oncology working groups at Winship Cancer Institute.
- Clinical Research Team Supervisor, Melanoma and Neuro-Oncology, Clinical Trials Office, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
- (404) 778-3612
- Dr. Read is a medical oncologist who cares for patients with gynecologic malignancies, brain 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
- 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