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Brain tumor care


Allina Health’s neuroscience program can help with comprehensive diagnosis, treatment and support for people who have a brain tumor and their families. Your team will include experienced and compassionate providers who work together to deliver expert care. This includes your primary care provider, nurse navigators, neurosurgeons, neuro-oncologists, radiation oncologists, nurses, physical therapists, genetic counselors, social workers, diagnostic imaging technicians and more.

Healthy cells that make up brain tissue repair themselves in an orderly way, but do not form new cells. Sometimes cells lose their ability to limit and direct their growth. When too much tissue forms, a brain tumor develops.

A brain tumor can be cancerous (malignant) or non-cancerous (benign). Even a benign tumor in the brain or spine is a serious problem because it can damage the central nervous system as it grows and increase brain pressure. Brain tumors can also be metastatic, which means that the cancer has traveled into the brain from another part of the body.

Learn more about how Allina Health's Givens Brain Tumor Center combines cutting-edge technology and a compassionate staff to focus on your unique needs.

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Brain tumor care at Allina Health

We are committed to providing the highest quality care for you as a whole person—not only treating your brain tumor but addressing your overall physical and mental wellness. Our nurse navigators help patients and their families from brain tumor diagnosis to treatment and beyond, providing the support and help needed to navigate your entire care experience.

To help you stay fully informed at all times, we’ll connect you with tools to manage your care, including the Allina Health account, which allows you to track your appointments, review your test results and more.

At Allina Health, we care for people with tumors and conditions that include:

  • meningioma
  • glioblastoma (WHO grade IV)
  • infiltrating gliomas (WHO grade I or II), including oligodendroglioma
  • anaplastic gliomas (WHO grade III), such as anaplastic oligodendroglioma or astrocytoma
  • craniopharyngioma
  • chondrosarcomas
  • epidermoids
  • glomus tumors
  • cholesterol granulomas
  • chordomas
  • problems pertaining to the facial nerve
  • acoustic neuromas

Our neurosurgeons care for tumors and conditions that include:

  • pituitary adenomas
  • meningocele
  • spinal cord tumors

Diagnosis of a brain tumor

Diagnosing a brain tumor often starts with a physical exam and a neurological exam by your primary care provider. The provider asks a series of questions and performs tests to check brain, spinal cord and nerve function. If your provider thinks you might have a tumor, additional tests will be done.

The most common brain tumor symptoms include:

  • changes in cognitive function (such as thinking, reasoning and remembering)
  • changes in other thinking skills (such as focus and concentration)
  • headaches
  • seizures (especially in older adults)
  • weakness in one part or side of the body

Some tumors do not cause symptoms until they are very large. Other tumors have symptoms that develop slowly over time. Symptoms depend on the tumor's size, location, how far it has spread and whether there is brain swelling.

Allina Health’s online resource entitled Understanding Your Brain Tumor and Treatment can provide you and your caregivers with more in-depth information about brain tumor care after surgery and while having treatment.  Your health care team will tailor treatment to fit your specific needs.

Brain tumor treatment options

Treatment depends on the size and type of tumor, your age and your general health. Goals of treatment may be to stop the progression of the tumor, relieve symptoms and improve brain function or comfort. Treatment options include:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy (such as stereotactic radiosurgery) this treatment uses high-energy radiation (X-rays) to shrink or destroy the cancer cells.
  • Chemotherapy is medicine given through an IV (intravenous) line to destroy cancer cells throughout your whole body.

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Source: Allina Health Neuroscience Program
Reviewed by: John E. Trusheim, MD

Last reviewed: 11/2/2021