Brain Tumor

The Brain Tumor Program is the only multidisciplinary consortium providing comprehensive brain tumor care in southern New England and has gained regional and national recognition. It comprises a group of specialists dedicated exclusively to the care of patients with all types of brain tumors, including but not limited to tumors originating from the brain (i.e. glioma, glioblastoma), its covering (i.e. meningioma), or its nerves (i.e. schwannomas), as well as brain metastases from other cancers in the body.

The Brain Tumor Program includes experts from the departments of Neurosurgery, Neurology, Medical Oncology, Therapeutic Radiology, Neuropathology, and Neuroradiology. The group meets weekly at a multidisciplinary Tumor Board Conference to discuss each patient on an individual basis, to arrive at the most appropriate diagnosis and treatment plan for each person. Because of the Yale Cancer Center's dedication to research and education, the program members are well acquainted with the most cutting-edge treatment options. Dedicated and experienced patient coordinators facilitate patient appointments and communications, coordinate services, and offer compassionate support to our patients and their families.

The expertise of the Brain Tumor Program covers all of the components critical to successfully managing patients with brain tumors: comprehensive evaluation and diagnosis, genomic profiling of the tumor, leading edge treatment options, thorough follow-up, and psychosocial support. Patients are welcome whether they are newly diagnosed or have already received extensive treatment elsewhere; patients in need of second surgeries or follow up biopsies are always welcome.

The physicians of the Brain Tumor Program at Smilow Cancer Hospital offer the most experience for the diagnosis and treatment of brain tumors. Our surgeons have expertise with advanced microsurgical techniques, including the use of intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring and awake craniotomy (when appropriate), aimed at achieving the maximum extent of tumor removal while preserving neurological function. The use of image-guided stereotactic techniques and intra-operative ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and angiography, allows our surgeons to remove the maximum amount of tumor as safely as possible. We are the only hospital in the region to have MRI and angiography capabilities in our operating room.

Samples of all tumors undergo genomic profiling to provide an understanding of the mutations in the tumor and to help direct post-surgical therapy. This helps to guide treatment decisions for additional therapy.  For some tumors, radiation therapy delivered with intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) or stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) may be indicated.  For other tumors systemic therapies such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or other tumor-targeted drugs may be recommended. We also bring the newest therapies to patients with CNS tumors through clinical trials that are either designed by Yale Cancer Center doctors or as a part of national cancer research groups.

Inquiries from referring physicians or directly from patients or their families are welcome and expeditiously handled by our team of experienced patient coordinators. The coordinators ensure that appropriate appointments are made in a timely fashion. New patients with brain tumors are usually scheduled within a couple of days. The patient coordinators also act as the patient's interface with the various medical specialists who play integral roles in each treatment plan. Physicians of the Brain Tumor Program maintain a close working relationship with physicians practicing in the community. Referring physicians are provided with regular reports on diagnostic findings and treatment recommendations for their patient.