If you have been diagnosed with metastatic brain cancer, you are not alone. Data indicate that 20 to 40 percent of people with cancer have had their disease spread to the brain. To help the many people affected by this disease, physicians at Rush work to find better ways to combat this disease and preserve quality of life.
What to Consider
At Rush, neurosurgeon Lorenzo Muñoz, MD, and radiation oncologist Aidnag Diaz, MD, MPH, believe that the best outcomes for metastatic brain cancer are achieved when patients have options, access and hope, and the following occur:
A treatment plan is developed — and begun — promptly. To speak directly to a brain cancer specialist at Rush or to leave a personal voicemail, call (312) RUSH-MET (787-4638). Calls will be returned by the end of the day.
You have multiple cancer specialists (a medical oncologist, a neurosurgeon and a radiation oncologist) on your team. Research suggests that a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach produces the best survival outcomes for cancer patients.
Your treatment is individualized. While a certain radiation therapy or surgery may be right for one patient, it may not be appropriate for another. Your cancer team should work together to help determine what’s right for you.
Speak Directly and Promptly to Physician Specialists to Explore Your Options
If you or your physician have questions about your condition, are seeking a second opinion or are ready to initiate treatment, you can speak directly and promptly with Muñoz or Diaz.
Call (312) RUSH-MET (787-4638) to speak to Muñoz or Diaz immediately or leave a message in their personal voicemail (if they are unavailable, they are most likely with a patient). They will return calls by the end of the day. The (312) RUSH-MET (787-4683) phone number offers access specialists and a gateway to expert opinions and treatment options.
Following your initial conversation, staff at Rush will contact you within one business day and work with you to schedule appointments with both the neurosurgeon and radiation oncologist so that you can see them both on the same day.
You will meet with Muñoz and Diaz, which could be as soon as one business day after making the appointment.
The physicians will confer with each other and your medical oncologist or primary care doctor to devise a treatment recommendation.
Treatment will begin, with physicians keeping you and your medical oncologist or primary care physician informed about your progress.
Patients at Rush have access to a full range of treatment options for brain cancer, including different radiation therapy approaches and minimally invasive surgeries. Treatment plans at Rush are tailored to each patient and his or her disease.
Whole brain radiation has been found to be debilitating for many patients with metastatic brain cancer, which is why radiation oncologists at Rush pursue treatment alternatives that spare healthy brain tissue and promote quality of life.
Radiation therapy at Rush does not require a head frame, or “halo,” which can be uncomfortable and intimidating. Rather, Rush uses the TrueBeam STx platform to deliver submillimetric accuracy without a head frame by the use of advanced imaging.
In some situations, but not all, surgery may be recommended. Doctors perform procedures without shaving all of the patients’ hair and by using small incisions, typically about 1 to 2 inches.
More Metastatic Brain Cancer Information and Resources