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Ependymoma

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Specialized Programs for Tumor Treatment

A patient with any brain tumor, but especially an ependymoma, should be seen by a multidisciplinary team at a major medical center, where experts in a wide range of specialists can attend to the many needs of the patient, caregivers, and other family members. While surgery or stereotactic radiation may be needed, we have found that our patients benefit from a more comprehensive approach. At the Weill Cornell Medicine Brain Metastases Clinic, our team includes not only neuro-oncologists, neurologists, and neurosurgeons but also social workers, neuropsychologists, pain management experts, social workers, and more — all dedicated to providing the most complete, compassionate care. Immunotherapy and Precision Oncology are also routinely employed so that targeted therapies can be offered when applicable.

The Laser Surgery Program at the Weill Cornell Medicine Brain and Spine Center uses state-of-the-art laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT) to treat patients with certain brain tumors using tiny beams of light instead of radiation. These beams heat the lesion and destroy it without damaging surrounding healthy brain tissue, without subjecting patients to the potential side effects of radiation.  

Holistic Approach
For patients with ependymomas, we offer a multi-disciplinary approach to treatment. While surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy are important aspects of brain tumor treatment, we know our patients benefit from access to holistic services that help treat the neurologic consequences of their disease. To that end, we have assembled a broad team to offer integrated care for our patients.

In addition to neurosurgery, some of the services that an individual with an ependymoma may require are:

Integrative medicine 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 brain tumor treatment.

Pain management is a key component of brain tumor treatment, since pain can significantly affect a patient’s 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 may be used as an alternative to surgery, or it may be used after surgery to kill off any tumor cells left behind after surgery. 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.

Social work is an often-overlooked element of patient care but is critical for an individual with a metastatic brain tumor. These patients often have issues with home care, finances, insurance, transportation, and more. Often overlooked, caregivers frequently need assistance as well.

Palliative care experts can help manage symptoms of pain and fatigue associated with a brain tumor 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.

Neuropsychology can be a great help for a brain tumor patient, who may be experiencing both cognitive side effects of the tumor or its treatment and emotional issues related to the condition.

This approach means having access to a system that delivers comprehensive care to promote an individual’s physical, psychological, and social well-being. It means access to nutritional counseling, clinical psychology services, acupuncture, massage therapy, yoga, pain management, and meditation training. It means access to group seminars and social workers who can assist with some of the practical problems facing patients and families with cancer. It means helping our patients achieve peace of mind.

We know that patients with complex conditions can be overwhelmed by the process of securing and following up on medical appointments. Our commitment is to integrate these services seamlessly into a patient’s schedule. Please let us know how we can help.