Brain Tumor Program | Neurology & Neurosurgery | Loyola Medicine

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Brain Tumor Program

Nationally Recognized Experts in the Treatment of Benign and Malignant Brain Tumors

Loyola Medicine’s specialists are nationally known for their expertise in treating brain tumors, which are abnormal masses of cells that may be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous). 

Your multidisciplinary team may include neurosurgeons, neurologists, neuro-oncologists, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists and neuroradiologists. Loyola neurosurgeons employ the latest technology, which allows them to deliver care that best preserves your quality of life. Loyola neurology and neurosurgery specialty is ranked 28th in the country on U.S. News & World Report's 2019-20 Best Hospitals list

At Loyola, we treat all benign and malignant brain tumors, including:

Why Choose Loyola for Brain Tumor Care?

Through Loyola’s unique neuro-oncology program, patients with brain cancers can benefit from consultation with several specialists in a convenient, multidisciplinary clinic held in Loyola’s Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center.

Our neuro intensive care unit and Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center are staffed by compassionate certified technologists and highly experienced nurses, who have earned Magnet status.

How Are Brian Tumors Diagnosed?

Loyola Medicine’s doctors are highly skilled in diagnosing brain tumors. Symptoms vary depending on the location and size of the tumor and may include:

  • Bowel or bladder problems
  • Changes in ability to think and learn
  • Difficulty with memory
  • Double or blurred vision
  • Facial weakness
  • Headaches
  • Hearing loss
  • Mood or personality changes
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Problems swallowing
  • Problems walking or balancing
  • Seizures
  • Speech problems
  • Weakness in limbs​

Neuro-oncology specialists at Loyola rely on several tests to determine an accurate diagnosis, including a neurological exam. This exam looks for changes in vision, hearing, balance, coordination, strength, sensations and reflexes. Blood tests may also be used to look for markers that indicate the presence of a tumor.

Your Loyola doctor will also use a variety of imaging tests to confirm the presence, location and type of tumor. Such tests include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scans.

A biopsy or extensive removal of the tumor may also be performed to evaluate cells under a microscope to confirm that the sample tissue is cancerous. Then, advanced pathologic and molecular testing is done to further understand the tumor type, which helps determine options for treatment.

How Are Brain Tumors Treated?

Treatment for brain tumors varies depending on the type and size of the tumor. Surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible is the typical course of treatment.

When neurological surgery is recommended, neurosurgeons use advanced, minimally invasive surgical techniques whenever possible. If the entire tumor can't be removed, such as when the tumor is located too close to sensitive brain structures, surgery may be paired with one or more of the following to further shrink and kill the tumor:

  • Chemotherapy, which involves taking drugs that kill cancer cells.
  • Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT), which involves the radiation therapy being adminstered during surgery, so it can directly target the cancerous area.
  • Intraoperative radiotherapy in glioblastoma, as part of the INTRAGO trial. Loyola is one of a handful of centers to participate in this trial to determine the effectiveness of IORT for glioblastoma.
  • MRIdian, which is an MRI-guided radiation therapy treatment that delivers targeted radiation to the cancerous area while sparing healthy surrounding tissue.
  • Proton beam therapy, which uses protons to help deliver higher doses of radiation to target the specific cancerous area.
  • Radiation therapy, which uses targeted energy beams to kill cancer cells.
  • Radiosurgery, which is like radiation therapy, but allows surgeons to get even more precise results.
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery, which includes unfractioned and fractioned stereotactic radiosurgery to treat the tumor.
  • Stereotactic radiotherapy, which uses focused radiation beams delivered to kill tumors.

Ongoing Research and Clinical Trials for the Treatment of Brain Tumors

As an academic medical center, Loyola Medicine is dedicated to improving future treatments by conducting research on new medications and protocols. Loyola’s patients benefit from our research discoveries; read about all of Loyola’s current clinical trials, including those related to different types of brain tumors.