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Brain & Spinal Cord Tumors

When you receive a cancer diagnosis, you want the most advanced treatment available. At Cape Cod Healthcare, you can stay close to home while receiving evidence-based, national standards, personalized care.

Brain and Spinal Cord Cancers

Every tumor of the brain or spine is unique and most are treatable. Our oncologists work closely with our Cape Cod Healthcare neurosurgeons to ensure you have coordinated, high-quality care.

There are two types of brain tumors: primary brain tumors and metastatic or secondary brain tumors. In adults, metastatic tumors are more common than primary brain tumors.

Each type of tumor requires specialized treatment. Some different types of brain and spinal cord tumors include:

  • Gliomas – a general term for tumors that start in glial cells. Most fast-growing brain tumors are gliomas
  • Meningiomas – tumors that start in the meninges, the membranes that line the skull and vertebral canal
  • Medulloblastomas – tumors that develop in nerve cells in the cerebellum section of the brain.
  • Gangliogliomas – Slow-growing tumors that contain neurons and glial cells.
  • Schwannomas – tumors that arise from the cranial nerve and are typically benign.
  • Craniopharyngiomas – Slow-growing tumors that start below the brain.


When surgery is advised for the treatment of tumors of the central nervous system, your cancer team works closely with our highly skilled and experienced neurosurgeons. Treatment may also include the use of beam radiation with stereotactic surgery. Using MRI scan, functional MRI (fMRI), CT scan and PET scan, your team has the tools they need to diagnose and treat your cancer.

Some of the techniques used to treat brain and spinal cord tumors at CCHC include:

  • Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) – delivers radiation directly to tumors with remarkable precision through the use of real-time imaging.
  • Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) – treats tumors from multiple directions with moving apertures to deliver higher radiation doses with minimal side effects.
  • Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) – focuses high-power radiation on a tumor in one session. Primarily used for brain and lung tumors, this non-surgical procedure uses a precisely-mapped coordinate system to destroy the target without harming nearby healthy tissue. At the CCHC Regional Cancer Institute we use the Truebean™ radiosurgery system, known for its speed and precision in helping physicians manage complex cancers.

When chemotherapy is necessary for your treatment, our medical oncology physicians and teams to coordinate the therapy that will produce the most successful outcome possible for you.