Health Innovations

Leading the Way Through Comprehensive Radiation Therapy

May. 17, 2022

The UC Brain Tumor Center at the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute offers all types of radiation therapy, including the only Proton Therapy Center in the region.

More than 25,000 adults in the United States will be diagnosed with cancerous tumors of the brain and spinal cord this year—even though a person’s likelihood of developing this type of tumor in their lifetime is less than 1%. These tumors account for up to 90% of all primary central nervous system tumors, and while this diagnosis is challenging, the UC Brain Tumor Center team offers an array of treatment options.

A common treatment for many types of cancers, along with surgery or chemotherapy, is radiation therapy. The UC Brain Tumor Center is proud to offer all types of radiation therapy, including stereotactic radiotherapy, brachytherapy and proton radiation therapy.

The UC Brain Tumor Center brings together a highly specialized, collaborative team of neuro-oncologists, radiation oncologists, neurosurgeons, neuropathologists, nurses and more combined with a wide variety of treatment options, to develop the most fitting and personalized treatment plan for each individual brain tumor patient.  

Dr. Luke Pater, radiation oncologist at the UC Brain Tumor Center, administers radiation therapy to patients and plays a big role in his patients’ treatment journey

“Radiation therapy is part of the treatment plan for brain tumor patients, in addition to surgery, chemotherapy and immunotherapy,” Dr. Pater explained. “It’s unique in that it’s a noninvasive treatment—so there’s no pain associated with the actual delivery [of the radiation].”

Offering the Only Proton Therapy Center in the Region

Proton therapy, a type of radiation therapy, is more accurate than its X-ray counterparts—the protons are larger and heavier charged particles that deposit the radiation dose in a more targeted manner.

As the only Proton Therapy Center in the region and one of less than 40 proton therapy centers in the United States, UC Health is dedicated to delivering the best cancer care to Greater Cincinnati and beyond. More than 4,000 proton treatments are performed annually at the UC Proton Therapy Center, with more than 30 types of cancers treated and 60 dedicated subspecialists dedicated to your care.

“We’re not only on the cutting edge of medical and surgical treatments, but also in terms of care of the individual patient,” Dr. Jonathan Forbes, neurosurgeon at the UC Brain Tumor Center, said. “What’s incredible about proton beam therapy is its precision, so it’s extremely good for certain types of tumors.”

Radiation oncologists can tailor the proton dose to the specific depth and shape of the tumor, while greatly reducing the risk of the high-energy proton beam damaging healthy tissue.

“The dose and rate of treatment is determined based on the tumor type and the surrounding normal tissues, which are to be protected,” Dr. Pater explained.

Providing an Unmatched Team Approach to Patient Care

The multidisciplinary care that the UC Brain Tumor Center provides is unlike anywhere else, thanks to the academic roots of UC Health. The care and treatment plan comes from all angles, with input from a wide variety of specialists.

“Every week we have conferences, and in these conferences, we have medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, neurosurgeons, eye surgeons, pathologists and doctors who interpret imaging,” Dr. Forbes said. “Each of these providers has access to state-of-the-art developments in their field, and it’s really important when you’re talking about treating a tumor that you have these discussions about what is right for that individual patient.”

Because brain tumors can cause significant side effects including fatigue and impaired memory, the UC Brain Tumor Center developed one of the first brain tumor survivorship clinics in the nation—a program where patients and survivors receive personalized, holistic care from the collaborative brain tumor team. Patients and survivors are evaluated, monitored and given evidence-based interventions like nutrition counseling and emotional support to provide the highest level of care and outcomes.

“Just as important as the long-term care of our patients, getting back to normalcy and quality of life by regaining function, getting back to normal interactions at work, normal interactions with their families—that’s something as a multidisciplinary team we’re able to provide, and allows our patients not just hope, but to expect to return to life down the road,” Dr. Pater said.

If you or a loved one receives a brain tumor diagnosis, the UC Brain Tumor Center is here to help. Call 513-418-2282.