Treatment for Brain Tumors at Sky Ridge Medical Center
Brain and spinal cord tumors are the result of abnormal cells that have grown out of control. Every year, nearly 24,000 cases of malignant brain or spinal cord tumors are diagnosed in the U.S.
Dr. Brent Kimball, medical director of CarePoint Neurosurgery and the director of Neuro-Oncology at Sky Ridge Medical Center, says that not all brain tumors result in brain cancer.
“The most important thing to understand with brain tumors is that not all are created equal,” says Dr. Kimball. “Some are benign and some are cancerous.”
Important facts about brain and spinal cord tumors:
- Less than one-third of brain tumors are malignant (cancerous).
- The survival rate for brain and spinal tumors can vary — This depends on the type of tumor and other factors. Younger patients tend to survive longer than older patients.
- While the direct cause of a brain tumor is often unclear, the risk factors for brain tumors include genetics, family history and age. An estimated 5 to 10 percent of brain tumors are hereditary.
- In children ages 0-14, brain tumors are the second most common type of cancer.
- For primary brain tumors, the median age at diagnosis is age 60.
Centennial resident Tomas Martinez went to bed on March 11 with the worst headache he’d ever had in his 36 years. When he woke the next morning, his thoughts were jumbled. “I told him to let his boss know he couldn’t work, and he didn’t recognize her name,” recalls Tomas’ wife, Tatiana. “His comments were scaring me. I knew something was seriously wrong.”
By the time the frantic couple reached Sky Ridge Medical Center, Tomas could no longer recall his birthday.
Specialized treatment for brain and spinal cord tumors at Sky Ridge
The location of the brain or spinal tumor often determines how the tumor is treated or removed, according to Dr. Kimball.
“The location of the tumor is extremely important in assessing whether it [the tumor] needs to come out and what the risks are regarding type of treatment,” Dr. Kimball says. “In the brain, it’s a little bit more complex because the tumor could be located in a difficult-to-access area or an extremely-easy-to-access area.”
For patients who have been diagnosed with a brain or spinal cord tumor, it’s imperative to see a specialist. At Sky Ridge Medical Center, patients receive individualized care from a team of dedicated neuro-oncology surgeons. Our Neuro-Oncology Nurse Navigator, Melissa Shields, RN, uses a multi-disciplinary approach to assist patients who are undergoing brain and spinal cord tumor evaluations and treatment.
New and innovative treatment options at Sky Ridge
While clinical trials for benign brain tumors are uncommon, there are some malignant brain tumors that have clinical trials associated with them, says Dr. Kimball. At Sky Ridge Medical Center, our specialists are on hand to discuss clinical trials and help patients make an educated decision about their treatment options.
“Getting involved in clinical trials, when it’s appropriate, is important to offer and for patients to have access to,” Dr. Kimball says.
Expert-level care and treatment for brain tumor patients
For those who are diagnosed with a brain or spinal cord tumor, it’s critical for these patients to see a high-quality neurosurgeon trained in treating these specific conditions, says Dr. Kimball. The research surrounding these brain and spinal cord tumors is ongoing, and in some cases, the survival rates for certain brain cancers has increased significantly in the last few years.
“Sometimes there is the perception that if you have a brain tumor, your life is never going to be the same again,” Dr. Kimball says. “It’s certainly possible to have a brain tumor, have it removed, and continue to go on and live a productive life.”
At Sky Ridge Medical Center, our board-certified physicians provide personalized, expert-level care. Our surgical team is a leader in HealthONE in neuro-oncology, using new and innovative treatment methods to evaluate, diagnose and remove brain and spinal cord tumors.