Our Holistic Approach to Neuro-oncology

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At the neuro-oncology service of the Weill Cornell Medicine Brain and Spine Center, we see hundreds of patients a year with malignant tumors of the brain and spine. Treatment often includes surgery, but we are more than a neurosurgical team. We know that a holistic approach to neuro-oncology provides patients, families, and caregivers with the wide range of services they need, just when they need it most.

That’s why we are taking the lead in changing the approach to treating brain and spine tumors. We know an individual with brain cancer may require many other services, and we do the work of integrating those services. Whether it’s stress management, transportation issues, nutrition, or any one of the other needs our patients may have, we are here to help.

We work with the Integrative Health and Well-Being Program, which recognizes the importance of treating the whole patient, including nutritional therapy, stress and grief management, and other emotional issues. An integrative medicine provider may recommend diet and exercise, yoga, acupuncture, or spiritual counseling. These have all been shown to improve quality of life during cancer treatment.

Pain management is a key component of treatment, since the pain of the cancer and/or the treatment can significantly affect quality of life. There is no need to suffer pain needlessly – a pain management specialist has many options that offer relief, including medications, injections, and spinal cord stimulation.

Radiation oncology includes radiation therapy, stereotactic radiotherapy, hypofractionated radiotherapy, brachytherapy, stereotactic body radiotherapy, and intraoperative radiation techniques, with the intent of reducing toxicity to normal tissues and improving treatment outcomes. Radiation oncology may be used either after surgery or as an alternative to surgery.

We connect our patients and their families with social workers, who are critical for patients in our neuro-oncology service. These patients often have issues with home care, finances, insurance, transportation, and more. Often overlooked, caregivers frequently need assistance as well. 

Experts in palliative care experts can help manage symptoms of pain and fatigue associated with a cancer diagnosis with the ultimate goal of improving comfort and easing anxiety. Their emphasis is on quality of life and daily function. In addition, they assist in improving quality of life for patients with terminal cancer.

Neuropsychology can be a great help for brain tumor patients, who may be experiencing cognitive and/or emotional issues related to their condition or its treatment. Our faculty includes neuropsychologists who provide on-site testing, remediation, and support to those diagnosed with brain or spine cancer.

Our holistic approach provides access to a system that delivers comprehensive care to promote an individual’s physical, psychological, and social well-being. It means helping our patients and their families achieve peace of mind.