Brain Tumor Team Photo

The Penn Brain Tumor Center provides an integrative and comprehensive treatment approach for those with benign (non-cancerous), malignant (cancerous) ormetastatic brain tumors

The options for the treatment of brain tumors include:

  • Awake craniotomy: An advanced surgical treatment to remove brain tumors that allows for intraoperative speech and motor mapping during the procedure.
  • Chemotherapy: Oral or intravenous medications to eliminate cancer cells.
  • CyberKnife: A form of non-invasive stereotactic radiosurgery used to treat tumors anywhere in the body.
  • Gamma Knife: A noninvasive alternative to surgery using radiation for treating cancerous and noncancerous brain tumors.
  • Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT): Radiation therapy that uses X-rays or other high-energy rays to destroy cancer cells and their ability to multiply.

  • Neurosurgery: The treatment of choice for tumors that can be removed without causing major neurological problems. The goals of neurosurgery are to:
    • Remove as much of the tumor as possible
    • Relieve pressure on the brain from the tumor
    • Provide tissue to establish a precise diagnosis
    • Determine the extent of the tumor
    • Provide access for other treatments, such as radiation implants
  • Proton therapy: A highly targeted form of radiation therapy that delivers precise doses of radiation to a tumor while minimizing exposure to the surrounding normal tissues.

Patients are involved in all decisions for care. Every case is reviewed each week by the center's tumor board, a multidisciplinary team of world-renowned specialists from the fields of neurology, neurosurgery, radiation oncology, neuropathology, neuroradiology, rehabilitation medicine, neuro-psychiatry and social work.

Research Leads to Advanced Treatment

We are the Philadelphia region's only participant in the National Cancer Institute-funded Adult Brain Tumor Consortium, allowing access to novel clinical trials and therapies not offered anywhere else in the region, such as:

  • Clinical trials utilizing novel chemotherapies
  • Anti-tumor vaccines and other immunotherapies
  • Biologic response modifiers and genetic-based therapies

Patient Support

At Penn, functional recovery is as important as scientific discovery. A wide variety of support services are available to patients in the neuro-oncology program. These include:

  • Counseling: A full-time social worker supports and assists patients with brain tumors and their families.
  • Brain tumor support group: Patients and their families share experiences while gaining support and knowledge.
  • Rehabilitation: Specialists work with patients to maximize quality of life during and after cancer treatment.
  • At-home services: Patients are able to maintain independence while receiving a variety of clinical and support services at home.
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