Brain and Spine Tumors

When you come to Winship Cancer Institute for brain or spine tumor treatment, you have a multidisciplinary team of neuro-oncology experts dedicated to your well-being.

Brain and spinal cord tumors are among the most challenging forms of cancer to treat.

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. Our services also include patient rehabilitation, counseling, pain management and support.

The benefits 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.

Brain and spinal cord tumors are defined as abnormal masses or uncontrolled growths of cells in the brain or spinal cord. 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.

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.

For reliable, in-depth information about cancer symptoms, staging and diagnosis, visit CancerQuest, an educational and outreach program at Emory University. 

Visit CancerQuest

Your care team will discuss treatment options with you and it is important to take time and consider all possible choices.

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: Radiation therapy is frequently used in the brain and spine to destroy tumor cells while minimizing damage to healthy tissue. Technologies 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. Proton therapy will also be available in 2016 at the Emory Proton Therapy Center.

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 medical care, we recognize the importance of the psychological and emotional 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 counselorsnurse navigatorsdietitians and social service professionals.

 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.

Learn More About Clinical Trials

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 or request an appointment online. Winship experts are 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.

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Arif N. Ali MD, MS

  • Radiation Oncologist
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                                 Arif N. Ali MD, MS
Arif N. Ali MD, MS

Arif N. Ali MD, MS

  • Dr. Ali specializes in central nervous system and gastrointestinal cancers, intensity modulated radiation therapy and stereotactic radiosurgery.
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-3473

Rebecca Arnold MSW, LCSW

  • Social Worker
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                                 Rebecca Arnold MSW, LCSW
Rebecca Arnold MSW, LCSW

Rebecca Arnold MSW, LCSW

  • At Winship, Ms. Arnold works with patients affected by genitourinary cancers, gastrointestinal cancers, sarcoma and aerodigestive cancers.
  • Social Worker, Medical Oncology, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900

Diane Atkinson RN, BSN

  • Nurse Navigator
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                                 Diane Atkinson RN, BSN
Diane Atkinson RN, BSN

Diane Atkinson RN, BSN

  • Ms. Atkinson works with the Gamma Knife radiosurgery team for brain tumors and functional disorders at Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital.
  • Oncology Nurse Navigator, Winship at Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital
  • (678) 843-5513

Wendy Baer MD

  • Oncology Psychiatrist
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                                 Wendy Baer MD
Wendy Baer MD

Wendy Baer MD

  • Dr. Baer helps patients and their families deal with the stress of receiving a cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment.
  • Medical Director of Psychiatric Oncology, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900

Tiffany Barrett MS, RD, CSO, LD

  • Nutrition Advisor
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                                 Tiffany Barrett MS, RD, CSO, LD
Tiffany Barrett MS, RD, CSO, LD

Tiffany Barrett MS, RD, CSO, LD

Stephanie Boyea MS, RD, CSO, LD

  • Nutrition Advisor
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                                 Stephanie Boyea MS, RD, CSO, LD
Stephanie Boyea MS, RD, CSO, LD

Stephanie Boyea MS, RD, CSO, LD

Daniel J. Brat MD, PhD

  • Neuropathologist
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                                 Daniel J. Brat MD, PhD
Daniel J. Brat MD, PhD

Daniel J. Brat MD, PhD

  • Dr. Brat is a diagnostic neuropathologist and brain tumor researcher at the Winship Cancer Institute where he also directs the Cancer Tissue and Pathology Shared Resource.
  • Director, Cancer Tissue and Pathology Core, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 712-5867

Ian R. Crocker MD, FACR

  • Radiation Oncologist
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                                 Ian R. Crocker MD, FACR
Ian R. Crocker MD, FACR

Ian R. Crocker MD, FACR

  • Dr. Crocker has over 30 years of experience with brain and eye cancers and has developed innovative therapies for treatment.
  • Vice Chair, Department of Radiation Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-3473

Walter J. Curran, Jr. MD, FACR

  • Radiation Oncologist
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                                 Walter J. Curran, Jr. MD, FACR
Walter J. Curran, Jr. MD, FACR

Walter J. Curran, Jr. MD, FACR

  • An international expert in advanced lung cancer and malignant brain tumors, Dr. Curran has been Executive Director of Winship since 2009.
  • Executive Director, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-3473

Kimberly A. Curseen MD

  • Supportive Oncologist
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                                 Kimberly A. Curseen MD
Kimberly A. Curseen MD

Kimberly A. Curseen MD

  • Board certified in Internal Medicine, Geriatrics, and Palliative Care, Dr. Curseen is the primary provider for the Supportive Oncology Clinic at Winship.
  • Director of Supportive and Palliative Care Outpatient Services , Emory Healthcare
  • (404) 778-1900

Mark Allen Edgar MD

  • Pathologist
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                                 Mark Allen Edgar MD
Mark Allen Edgar MD

Mark Allen Edgar MD

  • Dr. Edgar's clinical expertise is in the areas of bone and soft tissue pathology, anatomical pathology and neuropathology.
  • Associate Professor, Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 712-5867

Natia Esiashvili MD

  • Radiation Oncologist
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                                 Natia Esiashvili MD
Natia Esiashvili MD

Natia Esiashvili MD

  • Dr. Esiashvili specializes in the treatment of complex pediatric cancers and hematological malignancies in adults.
  • Associate Professor and Chief Quality Officer, Department of Radiation Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-3473

Martha Giardina BSW

  • Social Worker
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                                 Martha  Giardina BSW
Martha Giardina BSW

Martha Giardina BSW

Joan Giblin NP

  • Survivorship Program
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                                 Joan  Giblin NP
Joan Giblin NP

Joan Giblin NP

  • An experienced nurse practitioner specialist with extensive patient care involvement, Ms. Giblin facilitates continued good health and quality of life for cancer survivors.
  • Survivorship Program Director, Winship Cancer Institute
  • (404) 778-1900

Costas G. Hadjipanayis MD, PhD

  • Neurosurgeon
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                                 Costas G. Hadjipanayis MD, PhD
Costas G. Hadjipanayis MD, PhD

Costas G. Hadjipanayis MD, PhD

Raghuveer K. Halkar MD

  • Nuclear Radiologist
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                                 Raghuveer K. Halkar MD
Raghuveer K. Halkar MD

Raghuveer K. Halkar MD

  • Located at Grady Memorial Hospital, Dr. Halkar's clinical expertise is in neuroendocrine tumor management and the treatment of thyroid cancer.
  • Professor, Department of Radiology, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-1900

Valerie Henderson MSW

  • Social Worker
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                                 Valerie Henderson MSW
Valerie Henderson MSW

Valerie Henderson MSW

Kenneth Hill Jr. MD

  • Neurosurgeon
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                                 Kenneth Hill Jr. MD
Kenneth Hill Jr. MD

Kenneth Hill Jr. MD

  • Dr. Hill treats patients with cancers and disorders of the brain and spine, including conditions involving the neck and lower back, as well as carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Neurological Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-1900

Chad A. Holder MD

  • Neuroradiologist
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                                 Chad A. Holder MD
Chad A. Holder MD

Chad A. Holder MD

  • Dr. Holder has over 15 years of extensive experience in clinical neuroradiology, including both pediatric and adult neuroradiology.
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-1900

Patricia A. Hudgins MD, FACR

  • Radiologist
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                                 Patricia A. Hudgins MD, FACR
Patricia A. Hudgins MD, FACR

Patricia A. Hudgins MD, FACR

  • As director of Head and Neck Radiology at Winship, Dr. Hudgins is a leader in the diagnosis and staging of a variety of cancers including laryngeal, oropharyngeal, and thyroid cancers.
  • Director, Head and Neck Radiology, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900

Margaret (Maggie) Hughes LMSW

  • Social Worker
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                                 Margaret (Maggie) Hughes LMSW
Margaret (Maggie) Hughes LMSW

Margaret (Maggie) Hughes LMSW

  • Ms. Hughes works with the genitourinary and gastrointestinal patients at Winship Cancer Institute and the breast, gynecological and sarcoma patients at Emory University Hospital Midtown.
  • Social Worker, Medical Oncology, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-5976

Stephen B. Hunter MD

  • Neuropathologist
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                                 Stephen B. Hunter MD
Stephen B. Hunter MD

Stephen B. Hunter MD

  • Dr. Hunter is a neuropathologist and surgical pathologist attending at the Brain Tumor Program of Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University.
  • Associate Professor, Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 712-5867

Adriana Ioachimescu MD, PhD, FACE

  • Endocrinologist
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                                 Adriana Ioachimescu MD, PhD, FACE
Adriana Ioachimescu MD, PhD, FACE

Adriana Ioachimescu MD, PhD, FACE

  • As Co-Director of the Emory Pituitary Center, Dr. Ioachimescu leads the delivery of quality care of patients with pituitary malignancies.
  • Associate Professor, Departments of Medicine and Neurosurgery, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-1900

Shannon Kahn MD

  • Radiation Oncologist
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                                 Shannon Kahn MD
Shannon Kahn MD

Shannon Kahn MD

  • Specializing in Gamma Knife radiosurgery, Dr. Kahn treats many cancers including breast, brain and thoracic cancer at Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital.
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (678) 843-7004

Colleen Lewis NP

  • Nurse Practitioner
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                                 Colleen Lewis NP
Colleen Lewis NP

Colleen Lewis NP

Susan M. Maio MS, CCRC

  • Clinical Research Coordinator
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                                 Susan M. Maio MS, CCRC
Susan M. Maio MS, CCRC

Susan M. Maio MS, CCRC

  • Ms. Maio leads the coordination of clinical research for the melanoma and neuro-oncology working groups at Winship Cancer Institute.
  • Clinical Research Coordinator IV, Melanoma and Neuro-Oncology Team Lead, Clinical Trials Office, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-4520

Capraro Mosby RN

  • Nurse Navigator
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                                 Capraro Mosby RN
Capraro Mosby RN

Capraro Mosby RN

Mark E. Mullins MD, PhD

  • Neuroradiologist
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                                 Mark E. Mullins MD, PhD
Mark E. Mullins MD, PhD

Mark E. Mullins MD, PhD

  • A notable expert neuroradiologist, Dr. Mullins' primary clinical research interests include stroke and brain tumor imaging.
  • Associate Professor and Vice Chair for Education, Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-1900

Nancy J. Newman MD

  • Ophthalmologist
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                                 Nancy J. Newman MD
Nancy J. Newman MD

Nancy J. Newman MD

Jeffrey J. Olson MD

  • Neurosurgeon
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                                 Jeffrey J. Olson MD
Jeffrey J. Olson MD

Jeffrey J. Olson MD

  • Dr. Olson is a renowned professor and brain surgeon whose expertise in the management of advanced intracranial tumors and in clinical research provides an important resource for patients interested in clinical trial participation for brain tumors at Winship.
  • Director, Clinically-related Neuro-oncology Laboratory, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900

Nelson M. Oyesiku MD, PhD, FACS

  • Neurosurgeon
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                                 Nelson M. Oyesiku MD, PhD, FACS
Nelson M. Oyesiku MD, PhD, FACS

Nelson M. Oyesiku MD, PhD, FACS

  • 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) 778-1900

Beth Perlmutter MSSW, LCSW, OSW-C

  • Social Worker
Photo of 
                                 Beth Perlmutter MSSW, LCSW, OSW-C
Beth Perlmutter MSSW, LCSW, OSW-C

Beth Perlmutter MSSW, LCSW, OSW-C

  • At Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital, Ms. Perlmutter works with patients of all cancer types providing resource referrals and counseling services.
  • Social Worker, Outpatient Oncology, Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital
  • (678) 843-7826

Pamela Randall MDiv

  • Chaplain
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                                 Pamela Randall MDiv
Pamela Randall MDiv

Pamela Randall MDiv

William Read MD

  • Medical Oncologist
Photo of 
                                 William Read MD
William Read MD

William Read MD

  • 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 at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University.
  • Associate Professor, Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-1900

Amit M. Saindane MD

  • Neuroradiologist
Photo of 
                                 Amit M. Saindane MD
Amit M. Saindane MD

Amit M. Saindane MD

  • A board certified radiologist, Dr. Saindane specializes in brain, spine, and neurovascular imaging in neurological diseases.
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-1900

Hui-Kuo Shu MD, PhD

  • Radiation Oncologist
Photo of 
                                 Hui-Kuo Shu MD, PhD
Hui-Kuo Shu MD, PhD

Hui-Kuo Shu MD, PhD

  • As a physician and scientist, Dr. Shu specializes in the treatment of brain and spine tumors.
  • Associate Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-3473

Alfredo Voloschin MD

  • Neuro-Oncologist
Photo of 
                                 Alfredo Voloschin MD
Alfredo Voloschin MD

Alfredo Voloschin MD

  • Board certified in neurology with a subspecialty certification in Neuro-Oncology, Dr. Voloschin treats patients with primary brain tumors, as well as metastatic diseases to the nervous system and paraneoplastic neurologic syndromes.
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology , Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-1900