Brain tumors

Many brain tumors are benign (noncancerous). Cancerous tumors can grow quickly and require specialized care from a team of specialists like ours. We offer non-surgical treatments, such as stereotactic radiosurgery, that destroy tumors and help you recover faster than traditional surgery.

  • Brain tumors that start in the brain are primary brain tumors.
  • Some brain tumors (metastatic tumors) result from cancer elsewhere in the body spreading to the brain.

What you should know about brain tumors

  • There are more than 120 types of brain tumors. The most common are meningiomas, which are benign, and gliomas, which are cancerous.
  • Any tumor that grows large enough to interfere with breathing or other critical functions can threaten your life.

Why choose Geisinger for your brain tumor care?

  • Surgical specialists: Our team includes three of only a handful of neurosurgeons in Pennsylvania with additional training (fellowships) in treating brain tumors. This level of highly specialized care helps us safely remove tumors near areas that control critical functions such as speech. Find out more about cancer surgery.
  • Non-surgical treatments: We offer radiation therapy that breaks up tumors without surgery. Our doctors use sophisticated technology to precisely target the tumor and protect healthy tissue. Highlights of our offerings include image-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), which is available through our partnership with Holy Spirit – A Geisinger Affiliate. We also offer radiosurgery, or stereotactic radiation. Learn more about radiation therapy.
  • Innovative treatments: Our active participation in cancer research gives you access to new therapies that are not widely available. If a brain tumor returns after treatment, for example, a new, wearable device may help. The device, known as a tumor-treating fields device, has extended survival for people with certain brain tumors. Read more about cancer clinical trials.

Treatment options

The broad range of surgical and non-surgical treatments available at Geisinger gives you the best chance for a good outcome.

  • Chemotherapy : Strong drugs destroy cancer cells, prevent them from spreading or slow their growth.
  • Clinical trials : Our research gives you access to new treatments, such as special cancer-fighting drugs.
  • Immunotherapy : We use drugs made of special proteins (biologics) to jumpstart the immune system. Biologics help your body detect and destroy cancer.
  • Radiation therapy : This treatment uses radiation (X-ray) beams to destroy cancer cells.
  • 3-D conformal radiation therapy (3-D CRT) : We use special technology to position radiation beams so they precisely match irregularly shaped tumors. 
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery : Special technology sends radiation beams directly to the tumor while sparing healthy tissue.
  • Steroids : Certain drugs relieve symptoms such as pain and inflammation. Steroids also treat side effects from other treatments, such as vomiting.
  • Surgery : Pediatric surgeons remove tumors without harming nearby organs or tissues.
  • Targeted therapy : We deliver high doses of radiation therapy with the help of tiny beads we inject into the tumor.

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