Dr. Leonard Cerullo, one of NorthShore's many experts on brain and spine tumors, discusses Brain and Spine Tumor care at the NorthShore Neurological Institute.
The NorthShore Neurological Institute understands that brain and spine tumors are as individual as the patients they affect. That’s why our nationally recognized brain and spine tumor program offers the most advanced care available–tailored to the individualized needs of each and every patient. We provide comprehensive care for patients with malignant or benign tumors that arise primarily in the brain and spine, as well as for patients with neurological complications secondary to other cancers.
NorthShore has one of the largest brain and spine tumor programs in the country, providing experienced and compassionate care backed by leading research and an expert team of specialists. Our multidisciplinary care team includes:
• Neuro-oncology nurses
• Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, and Speech Therapists
• Radiation oncologists
• Social workers
The Neurological Institute is also involved in multiple clinical trials and studies, offering patients promising new methods of cancer detection and treatment. Our specialists have led and participated in numerous pivotal studies that are transforming the care of our patients—and of patients elsewhere in the world.
NorthShore patients have access to clinical trials and treatment options that are not available at other hospitals in the region. In fact, more than one third of our patients are referred from well beyond our service area, both from locations across the country and internationally.
Screening and Treatment
Neurological Institute specialists evaluate patients with the latest in diagnostic technology. High resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a primary method for diagnosing brain and spine tumors. NorthShore scans are performed on-site to allow for rapid physician review and timely communication with patients. A team of specialized neuroradiologists provides the superbly-trained critical eye to accurately interpret brain and spine images.
Initial treatment often begins with biopsy or resection of the brain or spine tumor with the goal of preserving neurologic function. The Neurological Institute’s fellowship-trained neurosurgeons are nationally recognized for successfully treating brain and spine tumor patients via a variety of advanced surgical techniques such as minimally invasive and incision-free stereotactic radiosurgery. They have participated in numerous studies to develop new techniques employing image guidance and intra-operative monitoring to make surgery safer and more precise. Performing surgery while monitoring language and motor function allows our neurosurgical team to remove tumors situated in delicate areas of the brain, while preserving patient function.
Neurological Institute experts have vast experience with a wide range of tumor types. Our specialists treat both benign and malignant primary brain tumors (ones that originate in the brain) and metastatic brain tumors that have traveled to the brain as a consequence of cancer in some other part of the body.
NorthShore’s neurosurgeons bring to patients exceptionally strong surgical expertise in the treatment of gliomas, which account for more than 50 percent of all primary brain tumors. The NorthShore Neurological Institute is one of the highest-volume programs treating these tumors in the Midwest region.
For tumors of the spine, our neurosurgical teams can expertly treat relatively rare primary tumors that arise from the spinal cord, as well as more common metastatic tumors of the spinal column. Our spine neurosurgeons offer innovative therapeutic treatments to reduce or eliminate the pain often associated with spine tumors. They have mastered the newest approaches to remove spine tumors earlier in the course of treatment, and they employ the most modern reconstructive techniques to maintain the stability of the spine. Working alongside NorthShore radiation oncologists, they make use of the most effective technology and equipment, developing personalized treatment plans designed to prolong survival, while improving function and quality of life.
Neurological Institute patients are offered a full arsenal of the latest medical treatment options. Our highly skilled specialists in neuro-oncology direct the administration of chemotherapy. Biologic therapies, including vaccines and monoclonal antibodies, tap the body’s immune system to help fight cancer. Molecular-targeted or directed medical therapies focus on cellular changes and target tumor cells to inhibit tumor growth.
Team Care Advantage
NorthShore patients have the advantage of an entire team of caregivers who bring together decades of expertise and knowledge from a variety of disciplines. Each specialist team member seamlessly enters into a patient’s treatment plan when appropriate. Brain and spine tumors can affect physical function, mobility, ability to perform activities of daily living, speech, and swallowing. Our physiatrists lead a multidisciplinary team of rehabilitation specialists who work with patients to reduce physical deficits and improve function.
In addition to the services of the Neurological Institute, our patients have access to the programs and services offered by NorthShore’s Kellogg Cancer Center. This collaborative model ensures that individual care plans benefit from shared opinions and a broad range of practice and insight. NorthShore clinicians participate in bimonthly neuro-oncology conferences at which individual cases are reviewed.
Specially trained neuro-oncology nurses care solely for brain and spine tumor patients and those with neurologic complications from cancer. They serve as a central resource and point person for patients and families. Our dedicated neuro-oncology nurses are available every day for patient questions and concerns, and are a great source of education and support.
Our neuro-oncology social worker has experience and special training in the psychological, social, emotional and practical needs of tumor patients and their families. Social workers are available for individual and family consultations. Financial counseling also is available for patients and families struggling with the cost of ongoing care.
Patient and Family Support
We are committed to providing for our patients’ psychological, social and emotional needs. Our social worker can help families cope with the stress that often accompanies illness. In addition, a registered dietitian is available for nutritional guidance through radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Integrative therapies and other healing resources are a part of each patient’s care plan.
Support groups for brain tumor patients and their caregivers are offered on the fourth Wednesday evening of every month. NorthShore enjoys a supportive and collaborative relationship with the American Brain Tumor Association.
Our fellowship-trained specialists have earned numerous honors and awards, from recognition in the Best Doctors of America to the Spirit Award presented by the Tim and Tom Gullikson Foundation. They have been tapped to serve in leadership roles for neuro-oncology professional and research organizations and are sought-after participants and presenters in major research and academic proceedings.
The NorthShore neuro-oncology program is a member of the Central Neuro-Oncology Group and Brain Tumor Trials Collaborative Group as well as a founding member of the Oligodendroglioma Tumor Study Group, an international group evaluating novel treatments for highly chemosensitive tumors.
Medical professionals throughout the region regularly consult NorthShore neuro-oncologists for advice on specific patient treatment.
For More Information
Please call 877.570.7020 for more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.