Brain/Central Nervous System Cancers

Brain tumors are masses of abnormal cells that have grown out of control. These tumors may be benign or malignant (cancerous). These tumors may also be categorized into primary (originating in the brain tissue itself) or metastatic (spread to the brain from another site such as the lung or breast). Although brain tumors rarely spread to other parts of the body, they can spread through the brain tissue. These tumors can destroy and compress normal brain tissue as they grow. Brain cancers are often referred to as brain tumors or central nervous system (CNS) tumors.

Legacy Cancer Institute has expertise treating all types of cancers, including gliomas and glioblastoma multiforme. Our neurosurgeons are involved in extensive research and clinical trials.

New hope for patients with brain tumors

Legacy Cancer Institute is transforming brain tumor treatment by using the revolutionary new BrainPath technology and ultra-precise Gamma Knife stereotactic radiosurgery. These technologies offer new hope to brain cancer patients with tumors that used to be considered inoperable. Legacy Emanuel is one of only a few U.S. hospitals to offer BrainPath technology.

Award-winning care

Legacy ranks among the nation's top cancer programs and has received multiple quality awards including the Outstanding Achievement Award from the American College of Surgeons' Commission on Cancer. The Commission on Cancer ranks Legacy's cancer program as one of the best in the nation. Learn more.

Treatment options

The specific type of tumor, its location in the brain and the amount that it has spread all determine your treatment options, whether surgery, chemotherapy or radiation. Patients often receive a combination of treatments.

  • Surgery to remove the tumor is usually the first treatment for brain tumors and is performed by a neurosurgeon.
  • Radiation is a key weapom against many cancers. For brain metastases, the gold standard is the ultra-precise Gamma Knife, which delivers a high dose of radation to the tumor without damaging the healthy brain tissue around it. Learn more.
  • NotvoTTF therapy can slow or reverse tumor growth. Learn more.


Childhood cancer

The Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Program at Randall Children's Hospital offers special expertise caring for children with cancers of all types, including a specialized neuro-oncology program for children with brain and spinal tumors.

Physician case review

Treatment for brain tumors is best done in a multidisciplinary fashion. Legacy's team of specialists, including neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists and medical oncologists, work together to evaluate your case and develop a personalized treatment plan for you. At Legacy we understand that you have a life, not just a diagnosis.

Our multidisciplinary cancer care conferences review complex cases to provide an expert "second opinion" on diagnosis, pre-treatment evaluation, staging, treatment strategy and rehabilitation. The team includes medical oncologists, pathologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, neurosurgeons, nurses, research coordinators and other cancer care staff.

You're not alone

At the Legacy Cancer Institute we offer services to support every aspect of your treatment including your physical, emotional, social and spiritual well-being.

  • Support groups and classes. Our support services include a twice-monthly Brain Tumor Support Group.  For more information contact Wendy Talbot, LCSW at wtalbot@lhs.org or 503-413-7921. Find classes for cancer patients.
  • Nurse navigators. They will help you throughout your treatment, from knowing what to expect to finding the right support services and helping you manage symptoms and treatment side effects. Contact a nurse navigator
  • Integrative care through our Cancer Healing Center

Legacy Cancer Institute physicians

  • David Adler, M.D., neurosurgeon
  • Jefferson Chen, M.D., Ph.D., board-certified, fellowship-trained neurosurgeon; also directs Legacy's neurosurgical research including clinical trials.
  • Andrew Kee, M.D., radiation oncologist
  • Richard Polin, M.D., neurosurgeon