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Brain and Nervous System Cancer Care

When you’re a patient at Swedish, we don’t just treat your cancer – we treat you. We use the most advanced treatments to create a highly personalized care plan. We also support you and your loved ones with a full range of services throughout your entire cancer journey. The result is effective, whole-person care for the body, mind and spirit.

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Phone: 1-855-XCANCER

Why Choose Us for Brain and Nervous System Cancer Care?

At Swedish, we see the life in you. Together, let’s finish cancer – so you don’t have to miss any of life’s special moments.

No two patients, or their treatment plans, are alike. This is why, at Swedish, we take a highly personalized approach to your brain and nervous system cancer care. Swedish offers patients with brain cancer the expertise of highly trained physicians and other cancer specialists, complemented by an integrated approach to care, leading-edge imaging and diagnostic techniques, state-of-the-art treatment options and a wide selection of quality support services. Our multidisciplinary care teams meet regularly to share information and discuss patient cases, in order to determine the most beneficial course of care for each patient. Your oncology team will work with you directly to design a treatment plan that fits your personal needs. It’s an approach that combines leading-edge treatment with the compassionate care Swedish is known for. Why? Because we know this results in the best outcomes.

As a patient, you’ll be supported through your entire cancer journey by a multidisciplinary cancer care team. You’ll be treated by neuro-oncologists and radiation oncologists, who may use Gamma Knife technology to precisely target tumors with high-dose radiation beams, a procedure known as stereotactic radiosurgery. If surgery is required, our experienced world-class neurosurgeons use the most advanced and minimally invasive techniques. This may include neuroendoscopy or open surgical resection. It’s a team-based approach to brain and nervous cancer care. Your care team may include cancer rehabilitation specialists, oncology nurse navigators and other cancer specialists. We also provide you and your family with a full range of support services well beyond conventional treatment, from genetic counseling and education to nutrition and pain management.

Learn more about the experts who make up our multidisciplinary cancer care teams.

Cancer doesn’t discriminate, but access to great brain and nervous system cancer care hasn’t always been the same for everyone. At Swedish, we are deeply committed to making sure every patient we treat has access to the best cancer care. We offer various location-specific services to help our patients receive equitable care, such as translation for non-English-speaking patients, telehealth and transportation assistance. We value, respect and support the racial, ethnic, religious, gender, sexual and spiritual identities of each member of our diverse communities, and we welcome all patients, regardless of their ability to pay. We aim to make sure every patient is treated equally and with dignity – whoever you are, and wherever you’re at.

At any given time, the Swedish Cancer Institute offers patients more than 140 clinical-research studies involving most types of cancers. Clinical trials give patients access to promising new medications and procedures before they are widely available. Such trials are also the primary way that progress is made in finding better approaches to treatment and cure. Additionally, our physician specialists collaborate with other regional and national research groups, including  Southwest Oncology Group, National Cancer Institute, Puget Sound Oncology Consortium and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

About Brain and Nervous System Cancers

Brain and nervous system cancers occur when masses or tumors made of cancer cells form within the brain or spinal cord. These growths may affect a person’s ability to think and move. The expert oncology teams at Providence use the most effective therapies to treat patients with every type of brain and nervous system cancer and their related conditions, including:

  • Glioma
  • Glioblastoma
  • Meningioma
  • Pituitary tumors
  • Schwannoma
  • Spinal tumors

Testing and Diagnostics

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Diagnostic tools help our cancer clinicians determine which therapies will work best for each patient, based on many factors like cancer type and the genetic or molecular profile of the tumor. Your doctors will use multiple advanced diagnostic and prognostic tools to help design your individualized treatment plan. Depending on your case, this may include one or more of the following:

Personalized Treatment for Brain and Nervous System Cancers

We take a team approach to your brain and nervous system cancer treatment because we know this offers the best success in controlling and curing cancer. Your multidisciplinary cancer care team will work with you to design an individualized cancer care plan, from diagnosis to post-treatment support. We offer many different therapies across our Swedish locations. Depending on your condition, your personal care plan may include one or more of the following:

Systemic therapies travel through the bloodstream and affect cells in other body parts. They are used for patients whose cancer has spread to other areas of the body or if there’s a high risk of spread. Sophisticated genetic analysis allows us to target therapies to specific DNA mutations that cause cancer cells to develop and grow. Systemic therapies include:

Chemotherapy is the systemic use of cytotoxic chemicals to kill cancer cells. Today there are many medications (e.g., biological medications, immune treatments, targeted therapies) that do not fit the classic definition of chemotherapy yet are often included in this category.

Clinical trials represent research protocols that include the use of new drugs or drug combinations in a specific clinical situation.

Immunotherapy uses drugs to allow the body’s own immune system to more effectively find and destroy cancer cells.

Surgical therapies involve an operation or procedure to remove cancer from the body. Surgery may be the main treatment for some invasive cancers, but it’s only one part of the entire treatment plan. Surgical therapies include:

Brain and nervous system resection is surgical removal of tumors or tissue of the brain or other parts of the nervous system.

Laser interstitial thermal therapy is a minimally invasive surgery that uses a small laser to destroy diseased brain tissue such as tumors.

This procedure may be an option for patients with recurrent or hard-to-reach brain tumors who are not candidates for conventional surgery. It offers targeted treatment with minimal damage to surrounding healthy tissue, reduced pain and a shorter recovery time.

This advanced procedure requires a sophisticated facility and equipment, along with highly specialized physicians. It is available at some Swedish locations.

Neuroendoscopy is an advanced, camera-assisted surgery to examine the skull, brain and spine. The surgeon may also take tissue samples for testing.

Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation from a source like X-rays or photons to kill cancer cells or shrink tumors. It may be part of a treatment plan that also includes systemic therapies and/or surgery. Radiation is sometimes used to help ease a patient’s pain or discomfort. Radiation therapies include:

Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and volumetric-modulated arc therapy (VMAT) are advanced types of radiation therapies. IMRT uses advanced technology to manipulate the radiation beams to conform to the shape of a tumor. VMAT is a subtype of IMRT in which the machine actively delivers radiation beams while moving in an arc around the patient.

This method of radiation delivery offers next-generation capabilities. The arc-based therapy provided via VMAT delivers high doses of radiation to more focused areas, reducing side effects and the overall treatment time for the patient. This treatment is particularly effective at treating several types of cancer while at the same time reducing toxicity and harm to vital organs.

This procedure is one of several new ways to deliver radiation therapy. It requires a sophisticated facility and equipment, along with highly specialized physicians. It is available at some Swedish locations.

Stereotactic radiation (SABR/SBRT) is a group of treatments that includes stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) and stereotactic ablative radiation (SABR) – both of which are adaptations of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) – for the treatment of targets in the body, but outside the brain. Similar to SRS, these techniques deliver very high doses of radiation using sophisticated motion management and patient immobilization techniques.

The number of radiation treatments is minimal and may range from one to five treatments delivered over one to two weeks.

This procedure is one of several new ways to deliver radiation therapy. It requires a sophisticated facility and equipment, along with highly specialized physicians. It is available at some Swedish locations.

Surface-guided radiation therapy (SGRT/SIGRT) is an approach to radiation targeting that offers real-time beam guidance from face and body surface-recognition systems.

This treatment is particularly effective at treating several types of cancer while at the same time reducing toxicity and harm to vital organs, thus minimizing side effects.

This advanced procedure requires a sophisticated facility and equipment, along with highly specialized physicians. It is available at some Swedish locations.

Three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3DCRT) is a radiation planning and treatment technique in which three-dimensional (3D) imaging enables improved targeting for radiation treatment. 3D planning with CT imaging makes radiation treatment much more conformal, or tailored to the target.

Additional therapies may also be part of the treatment plan for a small number of patients. These may include:

Alternating electrical fields is a treatment that involves wearing a set of electrodes on the body to deliver a mild electric current to the tumor site in intervals throughout the day.

Interventional radiology is an invasive procedure guided by radiologic imaging. This approach may be used to implant a port, or vascular access device, in order to obtain diagnostic material, remove fluid from the chest or abdomen, or deliver treatment locally.

Find Brain and Nervous System Cancer Care Close to You

Accreditations

We are proud to see our dedication to our cancer patients recognized by some of the most well-respected programs and institutions in the United States. Several of our Swedish locations have achieved the following accreditations:

Meet the Team

At Swedish, you'll have access to a vast network of dedicated and compassionate providers who offer personalized care by focusing on treatment, prevention and health education.

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Find Clinical Trials

Are you looking for a clinical trial for yourself or for a patient? We’d love to help you find one!