Risk Factors & Symptoms
Diagnosis
Treatment
Survivorship

Brain Tumor

Primary brain tumors are tumors that start in the brain. There are many types and subtypes of primary brain tumors. They include gliomas (which in turn include astrocytomas, oligodendrogliomas, and ependydomas), meningomas, medullablastomas, pituitary adenomas, and central nervous system lymphomas. Brain tumors are composed of cells that exhibit unrestrained growth in the brain. They can be benign (noncancerous, meaning that they do not spread elsewhere or invade surrounding tissue) or malignant (cancerous).

Risk Factors

Risk factors for brain tumors vary according to the type of tumor. Some types of tumors are more prevalent in men than in women. Some types of brain tumors usually occur in children, while others are more common in older people.

Symptoms

  • headaches
  • vomiting
  • personality or mood changes
  • seizures
  • cognitive decline
  • vision and hearing problems
  • physical changes
  • speech changes

If you have symptoms, see your doctor. If you don't have a primary care physician, we can help you find one near your home or where you work. You can even request an appointment online or call 1-800-ALEGENT (1-800-253-4368).

Diagnosis

The Alegent Creighton Health Cancer Center understands that a brain tumor diagnosis in a loved one can be scary and confusing. We can provide direction for patients and families during this time and work to achieve the best possible outcome and quality of life.

Neurological Exam

A neurological exam is usually the first test given when a patient complains of symptoms that suggest a brain tumor. The exam includes checking eye movements, hearing, sensation, muscle movement, sense of smell, and balance and coordination. The doctor will also test mental state and memory.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

This is a machine that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the organs and tissues within your body. Most MRI machines are large, tube-shaped magnets. An MRI scan is capable of showing detailed, 3-D images of tissue at many different angles.

Computed Tomography (CT)

Computed Tomography or CT Scan is an examination which involves highly detailed x-ray pictures of the body part to be examined. A CTscan of the head may include the brain, sinus, facial bones, orbits, or the inner ear.

Positron Emission Tomography (PET Scan)

Positron Emission Tomography produces powerful images of the human body’s biological functions. It can effectively pinpoint the source of many of the most common cancers, heart and neurological diseases. PET is a proven diagnostic imaging modality that displays the biological basis of function in the organ systems of the human body, unobtainable through any other means. Positron Emision Tomography is one of the newest, most advanced methods for studying the heart.

Biopsy

A biopsy is a surgical procedure in which a small sample of tissue is taken from the suspected tumor and examined under a microscope for malignancy. The results of the biopsy also provide information on the cancer cell type. Biopsies may be performed as part of surgery to remove a tumor, or as a separate diagnostic procedure.

Treatment

Neuro-Oncology

Brain Cancer or Neuro-Oncology is a field that brings together specialists from many disciplines including:
  • Medical oncology
  • Neurosurgery
  • Pathology
  • Psychology
  • Radiology
  • Radiation oncology
  • Physics

Working together as a cohesive team led by the neurosurgeon and radiation oncologist these professionals carefully evaluate the patient's condition and design an optimal treatment plan based on the many choices available, including the newest Stereotactic Radiosurgery and Stereotactic Radiotherapy programs in the region.

The Neuro-Oncology Team at Alegent Creighton Health understands that a brain tumor diagnosis in a loved one can be scary and confusing. We can provide direction for patients and families during this time and work to achieve the best possible outcome and quality of life.

Cancer Nurse Navigator Program

A Nurse Navigator is an oncology-certified nurse who is available to guide you and your family through the entire process of diagnosis and treatment at Alegent Creighton Health. The Nurse Navigator is a single point of contact who will be there with you every step of the way.

Support Staff

The Alegent Creighton Health Cancer Support Team is comprised of a group of healthcare professionals who work together in a variety of ways to help the patient and family cope with cancer. Individual team members include Cancer Support Services Specialists, Medical Social Workers, Cancer Rehabilitation Specialist, Pastoral Services, Dietitians, Oncology Nurse Navigators, Hospice & Home Care Services, Inpatient Nursing Services, Radiation Oncology, and Volunteer Services.

Technologies & Therapies

  • TomoTherapy
    Alegent Creighton Health is the first in the Omaha area to offer the TomoTherapy® Hi·Art® (Highly Integrated Adaptive Radiotherapy) System. This all-in-one solution allows doctors to check the location of tumors before each treatment, then deliver painless, precise radiation therapy resulting in unmatched accuracy for cancer patients, especially those with breast, lung and prostate tumors.

  • Varian Trilogy
    The Varian Trilogy with RapidArc® radiotherapy technology is a revolutionary breakthrough in cancer treatment that delivers powerful tumor-destroying radiation with remarkable precision.

Clinical Trials

We believe our patients should have access to the most advanced medicines or treatments available. Studies are available for cancer control, cancer prevention and cancer treatment. No patient is obligated to participate in clinical trials and may withdraw at any time. However, those who do participate gain access to new medicines and other benefits, such as low or no-cost drugs and treatments. Search our trials.

Image Recovery Center

While cancer treatment outcomes are improving, hair loss, weight changes and skin changes leave you feeling like a shadow of your former self. At Alegent Creighton Health, we won’t let you face those challenges alone. The Image Recovery Center is an appearance-enhancement program designed to help you copy with some of the physical side effects of cancer treatment.

Complimentary Therapy

The purpose of integrative movement therapy is to "complement" conventional medicine by stimulating the body’s natural healing power. Healing the body, mind and spirit, Alegent Creighton Health offers massage therapy, Yoga, T’ai Chi and other therapeutic exercises during cancer treatment.

Second Opinion Program

After you receive a cancer diagnosis, you will likely have many questions. It's helpful to obtain as much information as possible to make informed decisions about your cancer management and treatment in order to feel confident about your care. Getting a second opinion from the Alegent Creighton Health Cancer Center can help with these concerns.

Cancer Inpatient Services

For more acute, palliative or end of life phases of cancer care, Alegent Creighton Health offers five locations throughout Omaha for inpatient cancer care services.

Cancer Rehabilitation

  • Physical Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Speech Therapy
  • Massage
  • Aquatic Therapy
  • Lymphedeman Prevention and Treatment

Survivorship

Support Groups

We have the only Brain Tumor Support Group in Nebraska and Southern Iowa for those touched by brain cancer. Other support groups include:
  • Brain Tumor Support Group
  • Cancer Related Fatigue Support Group
  • Cancer Survivorship Program
  • Just for Kids - Cancer Support Group
  • Look Good, Feel Better
  • Lunch & Learn Cancer Support Group
  • Surviving Bereavement
Learn more about our support groups.

Image Recovery Center

While cancer treatment outcomes are improving, hair loss, weight changes and skin changes leave you feeling like a shadow of your former self. At Alegent Creighton Health, we won’t let you face those challenges alone. The Image Recovery Center is an appearance-enhancement program designed to help you cope with some of the physical side effects.

Complementary Therapy

The purpose of integrative movement therapy is to "complement" conventional medicine by stimulating the body’s natural healing power. Healing the body, mind and spirit, Alegent Creighton Health offers massage therapy, Yoga, T’ai Chi meditation and other therapeutic exercises during cancer treatment.

Cancer Rehabilitation

  • Physical Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Speech Therapy
  • Massage
  • Aquatic Therapy
  • Stress Management
  • Lymphedeman Prevention and Treatment