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Treatment Options for Brain and Nervous System Cancer

At UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, people with cancer of the brain and nervous system receive state-of-the-art, evidence-based treatments.

Our multidisciplinary team of medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgical oncologists, radiologists, and pathologists tailors each plan of care to your needs.

We work with your referring doctor to decide the best mix of therapeutic approaches for you.

Contact the Neuro-Oncology Program to Make an Appointment

To learn more about brain and nervous system cancer or to make an appointment, you can:

Fill out our online contact form.

Treatment Options

We fully follow national standards for practice in treating brain and nervous system cancer.

We base your treatment plan on many factors — such as the type and stage of your cancer, your general health, and more. Our goal is to design a treatment plan that will ensure the best possible results for you.

Brain and nervous system cancer care often include a mix of treatment approaches:

  • Surgery — the main treatment for most tumors of the brain, spinal cord, and nervous system.
  • Radiosurgery — the treatment of brain cancer with precisely directed radiation beams. It's painless and doesn't require an incision.
  • Radiation therapy — varies depending on the type and stage of brain or nervous system cancer. It mostly uses high-energy x-rays or concentrated radioactive materials to kill cancer cells safely. Your care team will often pair radiation with medical treatment.
  • Medical oncology involves the use of anti-cancer drugs, gene therapy, biologic therapy, or regional perfusion to treat cancer. Side effects vary with the type of treatment.

You may also have the chance to take part in clinical trials of the latest brain and nervous system cancer treatments.

Support Services

At UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, we believe the most successful cancer treatment starts with a focus on you.

We offer a range of supportive care services that can put you at ease and make your treatments more effective.

They can also help you and your loved ones manage brain and nervous system cancer treatment and recovery:

  • Behavioral medicine — psychologists and psychiatrists can help you create a plan for meeting the challenges of brain and nervous system cancer.
  • Nutrition for brain and nervous system cancer — our experts can design a diet and nutrition plan to help you regain strength.
  • Pain management — pain experts will work with your care team to relieve pain from brain and nervous system cancer treatment.
  • Palliative care — this service aims to improve the quality of life for people who are no longer responding to cancer treatments.
  • Social support — social workers can help you manage the practical aspects of living with brain and nervous system cancer.
  • Integrative oncology — provides personalized whole-person care to oncology patients with a focus on improving quality of life and symptom management.
  • Interpreter services — interpreters help global patients and others with language barriers discern the cancer treatment process. 
Surgeons in operating room

UPMC Department of Neurosurgery

UPMC neurosurgeons use sophisticated minimally invasive surgical techniques to treat brain and nervous system tumors.

Visit the UPMC Department of Neurosurgery website.
Doctors and nurses talking at a conference table

Brain Cancer Specialty Care

Our multidisciplinary team of brain cancer specialists care for people who have advanced or metastatic cancer. They also see those who want a second opinion about a brain or nervous system cancer diagnosis.

Learn more about Brain Cancer Specialty Care.