Neurosciences Institute

Brain tumor

If you are diagnosed with
a brain tumor, you need an
experienced team you can trust

A brain tumor occurs when a mass of abnormal cells forms in the brain. A tumor can start in the brain or it can form when cancerous cells from other parts of the body spread to the brain.

Tumors may be malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous). But even benign tumors can be harmful, since they may press on critical areas of the brain, such as blood vessels, as they grow.

If you have a brain tumor or neurological complications as a result of other forms of cancer, you can rely on the team at Novant Health to provide leading-edge, compassionate care.

If you are diagnosed with a benign brain tumor, your care team, which typically consists of your primary care physician, neurologist and radiologist, will develop a treatment plan. Main treatments include brain surgery and/or radiation therapy as well as drugs that help reduce swelling and promote healing. Benign brain tumors are almost always treatable.

If you are diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, you can count on the world-class cancer centers and dedicated experts at Novant Health to help you through the emotional, spiritual and physical challenges that cancer presents.

Diagnosing brain tumors

Our talented clinicians use advanced neuroimaging technology to diagnose brain tumors:

Angiography – Shows the location of blood vessels in the brain. Dye is injected into an artery and X-rays follow its flow throughout the brain’s blood vessels.

Computed tomography (CT) – Uses a sophisticated X-ray machine and computer to help physicians locate a tumor and determine whether it is malignant or benign. CT can also help physicians see swelling or bleeding in the brain.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – Uses powerful magnets to identify diseased tissue and show a 3-D image of a tumor.

Treatments for brain tumors

Surgery, radiation and chemotherapy are the three most common treatments for brain tumors. The method used depends on factors such as the tumor’s size, location and the patient’s age and overall health.

Surgery - Your treatment may begin with surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible. Surgical techniques that may be used include microsurgery, which magnifies the operating area for easier removal.

Radiation therapy - Radiation can be used to shrink the pieces of the tumor that cannot be removed in surgery. Through procedures like stereotactic radiosurgery, Novant Health’s specialists can direct radiation to the tumor and spare healthy tissue.

Chemotherapy - Your treatment may also include certain cancer drugs designed to attack cancer cells and help shrink tumors in the brain.

Other techniques for treating brain tumors include:

Ultrasonic aspirators - Ultrasonic aspirators use high-frequency sound waves to break up tumors and vacuum out the tumors fragments.

Lasers - Laser therapy uses concentrated light energy to help destroy tumor tissue.

After treatment, your care team will run some of your initial diagnostic tests again to determine whether the size of the tumor has changed.

Our leading-edge facilities feature specialty programs such as a Brain Tumor Conference, through which physicians come together to discuss new brain tumor patients to ensure that all treatment alternatives are considered and that each patient receives the very best treatment.

At Novant Health, we’re with you every step of the way on your journey – whether you have a life-threatening, malignant brain tumor or are recovering from the effects of a benign brain tumor.