How We Treat Brain Tumors
At NewYork-Presbyterian, a multidisciplinary brain cancer team creates a personalized treatment plan for each patient. We carefully consider your tumor type, size, and location, as well as your age and overall physical health. Your team meets with you and your caregivers to ensure everyone understands all treatment options so you can make an informed decision about what’s best for you. Our goal is to treat your tumor effectively and safely, while minimizing potential side effects. Your therapy may include one or more approaches.
- Brain tumor surgery. Our neurosurgeons have exceptional experience removing brain tumors, always working to remove tumor tissue while leaving as much healthy tissue and function as possible. To achieve this, we use advanced techniques such as stereotaxis, neuroendoscopy, awake brain mapping, and electrophysiological methods to "map" the tumor's location in the brain, maximizing tumor removal while minimizing risk.
- Minimally invasive treatment. We pioneered surgery for tumors at the base of the skull, an area that in the past has been considered inoperable. Our team includes world leaders in skull base surgery using endoscopes passed through the nostrils to remove pituitary tumors, chordomas, and other skull base tumors. Our leaders also train other surgeons who come from around the world to learn these innovative techniques.
- Advanced operating room technologies. We project MRI or CT images in the operating room to provide our surgeons with a "map" as they operate, enhancing safety and allowing for more complete tumor removal. We also continuously monitor the electrical activity of the brain and spinal cord during surgery to reduce the risk of harming vital functions such as movement and sensation.
We use highly precise, targeted radiation therapy to zero in on a tumor while sparing as much nearby healthy tissue as possible.
- Stereotactic radiosurgery. NewYork-Presbyterian offers "frameless" stereotactic radiosurgery using the ExacTrac® system. This innovative treatment allows for more precise, high-dose radiation treatment to tumors without restricting the patient's position with an immobile frame. The novel image-guided technology features a monitoring system that provides miniature images during the course of treatment to track patient movement and enable the machine to reposition its beams to the tumor, sparing radiation exposure to healthy tissue. Other forms of stereotactic radiosurgery we offer include the Brainlab iX and Gamma Knife. NewYork-Presbyterian one of only 100 centers worldwide that uses the 20-ton Gamma Knife radiosurgery system.
- External beam radiation therapy. This treatment is delivered using the latest linear accelerator models.
- Image-guided radiation therapy and intensity-modulated radiation therapy. These precisely focused treatments match radiation beams to the shape of a tumor to treat it in a highly effective way.
- Brachytherapy. This approach involves the implantation of cancer-killing radioactive substances directly into tumor tissue.
Our doctors may prescribe chemotherapy. We give intravenous chemotherapies in our warm, supportive infusion centers, where we can monitor your side effects and address your comfort. Other chemotherapy drugs for brain cancer are taken orally (by mouth), so you can take them at home.
We are leading and participating in clinical trials of new therapies and developing new ways to deliver anticancer drugs to brain cancers more directly and effectively. Our researchers are assessing other investigational therapies, such as targeted therapies and treatments which harness the power of the immune system to fight cancer (immunotherapy).