If you or a loved one has received a brain or spinal tumor diagnosis, we understand it can be upsetting and even frightening news. At Central Maine Healthcare (CMH), we want to provide everything we possibly can to make the treatment process reassuring. The information below is a general overview of the types of treatments your doctor may recommend, but we hope you’ll do further research, including asking your care providers any questions you have.
A surgeon who has expertise in removing cancerous tumors, lesions and tissues from the body is known as a surgical oncologist. This is often the first step in the treatment of brain or spinal cancer and in some cases will involve removing as much of the tumor as possible without affecting normal function and then following up with radiation treatments. Used together, these treatments may control or cure many tumors.
Radiation Oncology at the Cynthia A. Rydholm Cancer Treatment Center
A doctor who specializes in using radiation to treat cancer is called a radiation oncologist. He or she will use high energy rays or small particles to kill cancer cells. When a tumor is on or near your spinal cord or brain, the radiation needs to be aimed very precisely to avoid damaging these important organs.
The radiation team at Central Maine Medical Center’s Cynthia A. Rydholm Cancer Treatment Center, will determine the best angle and the lowest possible dose of radiation, with the goal of damaging the tumor while minimizing harm to your healthy tissue. Doctors at the Rydholm Center have advanced training and years of experience using radiation to help patients fight brain and spinal cancer.
One or more of the techniques below may be used to focus the radiation in the most therapeutic way possible:
- IMRT (intensity-modulated radiation therapy)
- IGRT (image-guided radiation therapy)
- Rapid arc / VMAT (Volumetric-modulated arc therapy)
- Hexapod table movement
- CT simulation
- SBRT (stereotactic body radiation therapy)
- 3D-conformal radiation therapy
A medical oncologist treats cancer using chemotherapy, hormonal therapy and biological therapy to weaken the brain or spinal tumor. These drugs are delivered either intravenously (through a needle in the vein) or via a pill and are used to reduce a tumor’s size before surgery, to kill cancer cells remaining after surgery or radiation, or to treat tumors that have developed in other areas.
Medical oncologists undergo advanced training in the use of these drugs and create a plan to guide treatment. Patients at Central Maine Healthcare have peace of mind thanks to our relationship with the Hematology-Oncology Associates practice, which offers medical oncology specialists and a commitment to compassionate care. The practice features a state-of-the-art infusion center, as well as hydration, antibiotic, therapy and blood product transfusion services.