Neurologic Cancer Treatments
The best treatment for neurologic cancers requires a multidisciplinary team approach. Aurora patients benefit from multidisciplinary case reviews, which can include specialists from various disciplines.
- Neurosurgeon: a physician trained in surgery of the nervous system and who specializes in surgery on the brain and spinal cord.
- Cancer Nurse Navigator: a registered nurse with special training who can help answer questions and provide information on resources and support services.
- Medical oncologist: a physician specializing in treating cancer with chemotherapy, hormonal therapy or immunotherapy.
- Pathologist: a physician who examines tissues and cells under a microscope to determine if they are normal or abnormal.
- Radiation oncologist: a physician specializing in treating cancer with radiation therapy.
- Radiologist: a physician who uses X-rays and other imaging tests to diagnose disease.
Treatment plans are customized for each patient by our team of experts and may include cancer surgery, radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy.
Some of the treatments we use for neurological cancers include:
Radiation therapy: a sophisticated and effective way to treat many kinds of cancer, radiation oncology ses highly advanced technology and innovative treatment techniques to destroy cancer cells or to prevent diseased cells from growing.
Gamma Knife: Gamma Knife radiosurgery is a state-of-the-art treatment for both benign and malignant brain tumors, arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) and functional neurological disorders. Aurora St. Luke's began offering Gamma Knife technology in 1999, and was the first hospital in Wisconsin to offer patients this non-invasive treatment option. We're giving hope to patients who were previously considered inoperable due to the location of their tumor, age or medical condition.
Surgery: some neurological cancers are confined and accessible enough to be effectively removed surgically. Surgery is often combined with chemotherapy, radiation or immunotherapy. Sophisticated brain mapping is employed to ensure that the senses are not hindered as a result of surgery.
Chemotherapy: advances in the effectiveness of cancer-fighting drugs have kept chemotherapy at the forefront in the fight against cancer. Often used in combination with other therapies, chemotherapy is frequently used to combat cancers with or without radiation therapy and surgery.
Autologous Stem Cell Treatment (ASCT): some cancers once considered untreatable are being successfully treated with Autologous Stem Cell Treatment. While research has shown that certain cancers are more effectively treated (and the risk of recurrence can be dramatically reduced) by treating them with higher doses of chemotherapy, that can result in bone marrow failure.
With ASCT, we prevent bone marrow failure by removing stem cells from the blood and preserving them before the patient receives chemotherapy.
The stem cells are then reinfused back into the patient after chemotherapy. These stem cells then migrate to the bone marrow where they begin to produce healthy new blood cells.
Cancer Immunotherapy: the ability of the immune system to identify and destroy tumor cells has led to its use in cancer treatment. By stimulating the body's immune system, cancer cells may be destroyed without damaging healthy tissue. Cellular cancer vaccines use a patient's cells to trigger the immune system to attack cancerous cells.
While traditional vaccines are used to prevent an illness from taking hold, cancer vaccines are used to prevent the existing cancer from spreading, thereby reducing the risk of recurrence.
Clinical trials: Clinical trials offer additional treatment options for some patients. Some promising new treatments may only be available in a research setting. Aurora offers access to these clinical trials of therapies that might not be widely available elsewhere.
Rehabilitation therapy includes:
- Physical therapy to help with walking, balance, and building strength
- Occupational therapy to help with mastering life skills, such as dressing, eating and using the toilet
- Speech therapy to help express thoughts and overcome swallowing difficulties