The UTMB Neurosciences team specializes in treating tumors in complex areas of the brain, spine and spinal cord. We offer patients the best chance of fighting disease while preserving physical and cognitive abilities.
Patients in the program work with a complete team of cancer specialists, including neuro-oncologists, neurosurgeons, radiation
oncologists, neurointerventional radiologists and others who focus on brain and spine tumors. Your care team will work with you and your family to assure you have a comprehensive treatment plan. The program also includes experienced nurses, dietitians and other skilled caregivers.
Signs & Symptoms of Brain Tumors
Approximately 400,000 people are diagnosed with a brain or spine tumor in the U.S. every year. Most of these tumors are cancers that have spread to the brain or spine from other parts of the body. The majority of neurological cancers are malignant, but some are benign tumors.
Brain tumors can increase the pressure within the skull, especially when the tumor is large and surrounded by an accumulation of
fluid. This increase in pressure can cause several symptoms, including headache, blurred or double vision, vomiting and changes in mental state. Neurological problems can also be related to the specific location of a tumor.
Brain tumors are complex disorders that require advanced techniques to diagnose and safely remove. Surgery is usually the most effective first line treatment to establish diagnosis and/or remove as much of the tumor as safely as possible. Our neurosurgeons use advanced technologies to remove as much of the tumor as possible while preserving the surrounding brain tissue.
Our radiation treatment technology includes the most advanced flexible and versatile systems available.
Chemotherapy may be used alone or in combination with radiation therapy. Treatments range from standard chemotherapy to use of anti-angiogenic agents (which target the blood vessels feeding the tumor) and new molecular agents.
The Brain Science Foundation is a non-profit, patient-support group that strives to educate patients about brain tumors, brain cancer treatments and fund research.
Tumors of the spine are usually accompanied by back pain, and occasionally impaired function of the arms or legs. Approximately 80 percent of all spinal tumors are cancers growing within the bone of the spine. The remaining 20 percent are tumors growing in or near the spinal cord. Spinal cord tumors are usually benign, but a significant percentage of these tumors are malignant.Treating these tumors requires extremely intricate microsurgery and intra-operative monitoring of spinal cord function.
UTMB Health’s League City Campus is home to a TomoHD Mobile linear accelerator, which generates X-ray or electron beams to deliver radiation therapy.
"Tomotherapy is a type of radiation therapy that offers patients cutting edge cancer care in their own backyard," explains Dr. Todd Swanson, radiation oncologist at UTMB. “As opposed to traditional radiation therapy machines, which deliver a wide beam of radiation from only a few angles, this specialized system targets tumors with highly precise radiation delivered from 360 degrees around the patient – increasing the doctor’s control in getting radiation where it needs to be while decreasing the chance of damage to surrounding healthy tissue and organs.”
The League City Campus is one of three facilities offering Helical Tomotherapy in the Houston-Galveston area.