Brain and Spinal Tumors

You have access to leading surgical techniques for brain and spinal tumors along with other treatments and the support you deserve.

Find a neurosurgeon
Brain and spinal tumors include cancerous and noncancerous growths. Some grow quickly while others grow slowly, but they all require the attention of experienced specialists. This level of care is closer to home than you may think. At the Nuvance Health™ Neuroscience Institute, you benefit from the recommendations of skilled specialists.

You have access to leading therapies, giving you more options for healing. In eligible patients, specialists may use advanced technologies to pinpoint the location of the tumor with less disruption to healthy tissue. All patients receive support and coordination services from cancer nurse navigators, who help make treatment a little less stressful.

Brain and Spinal Tumor Treatment at Nuvance Health: Why Choose Us?

Nuvance Health is one of the only programs in New York’s Hudson Valley and Western Connecticut to apply a team approach to brain and spinal tumors (neuro-oncology). The team includes doctors, many with decades of experience, who trained at some of the nation’s leading cancer programs. Highlights of our program include:

  • Coordination
    Your treatments reflect the recommendations of multiple cancer specialists. Neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists and others plan the right therapies for your needs. We meet regularly, making it possible to adjust plans whenever necessary and move care forward.
  • Advanced treatments
    Access to state-of-the-art care options previously only available at the nation’s top academic and spinal tumor programs. Our services include targeted therapies, sophisticated surgical options and focused radiation therapy.
  • Appropriate care
    We use genomic testing to check the tumor for specific cell changes (mutations). This information helps us determine whether you might benefit from targeted therapy. You receive specific drugs to slow tumor growth. Find out more about chemotherapy and other medical oncology.

Surgery for Spinal and Brain Tumors

Brain and spinal tumors typically require surgery. Because the team uses the latest neuro-oncology methods to remove tumors with less disruption to healthy tissue, patients typically experience a quicker recovery with fewer complications.

These methods include:

  • 5-Aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA): Using this drug, along with a special microscope, specialists remove tumor cells that are otherwise difficult to detect. Nuvance Health is among the first programs in the region offering this option.
  • GPS navigation: Neurosurgeons use GPS technology to navigate delicate brain tissue and pinpoint a tumor’s location. They can see the orientation of surgical instruments in real-time on a large screen to help guide their movements.
  • Spinal tumor embolization: We are among the few programs in the region offering this treatment. Neurosurgeons use tiny coils or glue particles to block blood flow to the tumor, making it safer to remove.

Types of Brain and Spinal Tumors We Treat

  • Conditions we treat include: Glioblastoma: A quick-growing cancerous tumor that is likely to spread
  • Gliomas: Tumors occurring in glial cells that surround nerves in the brain and spine
  • Meningiomas: Noncancerous tumors that form in the layers of tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord
  • Metastatic tumors and cancer: Abnormal growths that form elsewhere in the body and travel to the brain or spine
  • Spine tumors: Growths that form in the bones, nerves and supportive tissue of the spine

Neuro-Oncology Evaluation

We typically see patients within a few business days. Your first appointment is likely to be with a neurosurgeon. During this appointment, we ask about your symptoms and review the results of imaging studies.


We may also need a tissue sample (biopsy) to confirm your diagnosis and help plan treatments. For spinal tumors, we use a needle instead of surgery to obtain the biopsy. For brain tumors, we use surgical techniques that are as minimally invasive as possible.

Support Services for Brain and Spinal Tumor Patients

Care for brain and spinal tumors typically requires many appointments for tests and treatments. It’s natural to feel nervous and have questions, which is why a neuro-oncology nurse navigator is here for you. This specialist answers questions, coordinates appointments and lets you know what to expect, so you can focus on healing.


Cancer treatments can bring side effects or unexpected challenges, but you don’t have to face these problems alone. Our whole-person approach includes assistance and therapies that give you relief and peace of mind. Social workers provide emotional support and address practical matters, which may include questions about insurance. Explore supportive care.