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Brain Cancer

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Brain cancer and other nervous system cancers begin when cells begin to grow uncontrollably and eventually form a mass, called a tumor.​

Our team of specialists in neuro-oncology, neurosurgery, radiation oncology and medical oncology treat brain tumors and other cancers that affect the central nervous system.

The br​ain and spinal column make up the central nervous system (CNS) where all vital functions including thought, speech and strength of the body are controlled.


The treatment of an adult brain tumor depends on many factors including:

  • The size, location, type and grade of the tumor 
  • Whether it is cancerous 
  • Whether it has spread to other parts of the CNS or body
  • The person's age and overall health


Surgery is often the first treatment most commonly used for a brain tumor and is often the only treatment needed for a benign brain tumor. 

Surgery is performed for the purposes of: 

  • Biopsy, reducing the size of the tumor
  • Removing the tumor completely
  • For symptom management, if the cancer can not be cured

To remove the tumor, the neurosurgeon will perform a procedure called a craniotomy.

Mapping and enhanced imaging devices give surgeons more tools to plan and perform the surgery.

Learn more about surgical oncology

Find a neu​rosurgeon

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays to kill cancer cells and is an important part of the treatment for patients with brain tumors. It can be curative, but is often used to prolong life.

  • Gamma Knife™- The Gamma Knife is not really a knife at all but a non-invasive treatment for patients with deep brain tumors and abnormal blood vessels in the brain.
    A dose of gamma radiation is directed by highly sophisticated computer technology to the tumor site, sparing the surrounding healthy tissue.
    Gamma Knife surgery involves a team of medical experts from neurosurgery, radiation oncology and radiation physics.
    Our physicians have access to one of the only Gamma Knife units in the state at Marshfield Medical Center in Marshfield, Wisconsin.
    This technology enables our physicians the ability to treat patients with tumors who would not have been able to be treated with other technologies.
  • IMRT - Intensity Modulation Radiation Therapy. This allows the radiation oncology team to:
    • Customize a patient's treatment to the size, shape and location of the tumor.
    • Minimize the amount of healthy tissue that is exposed to radiation.
    • Treat tumors previously considered untreatable.
  • External-Beam Radiation - This traditional form of radiation therapy delivers radiation from outside the body. This course of treatment is less precise, but allows a wider area of tissue around the tumor to be treated.

Learn more about radiation oncology

Find a radiation oncologist


Chemotherapy​ uses drugs to kill cancer cells and, in the case of brain and CNS cancer, is primarily used in conjunction with surgery and radiation therapy. Neuro-oncologists diagnose and treat brain cancers, including neurologic complications of cancer outside and inside the nervous system.

Learn more about medical oncology/hematology

Find a neuro-oncologist


The formation of new blood vessels feeding tumors is called angiogenesis. Anti-angiogenesis drugs work by cutting off a tumor's blood supply so the tumor starves and is prevented from growing and/or spreading.​​

Watch John's story

Memory issues and shortness of breath are more than just old age. John was diagnosed with a meningioma, a tumor in the lining of his brain. Watch his incredible story and how surgery got him back to doing what he loves.