Why Roswell Park for Brain Tumors?

Dr. Robert Fentermaker, Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery, explains why multidisciplinary care is crucial when treating brain tumors.

We Know Cancer Best

When it comes to brain tumors, neurosurgery is usually the first treatment a patient receives. However, brain tumors are relatively rare. While the average neurosurgeon can treat a wide range of neurological diseases and disorders, most will see very few brain tumors over the course of their careers.

Because Roswell Park is a cancer center, our board-certified neurosurgeons see brain tumors every single day. They understand how cancer works and the best strategies for treating it.

Fast, Early, Accurate Detection and Diagnosis

The same expertise required in a neurosurgeon is critical when it comes to the pathologist who will diagnose your brain tumor. There are more than 120 different types of brain tumors, but most pathologists will seldom see them. Jingxin Qiu, MD, PhD, who heads Roswell Park’s Neuropathology Service, is an exception. He is a board-certified neuropathologist, having completed very specific training in the diagnosis of diseases of the central nervous system. He sees many different types of brain tumors on a daily basis and is highly qualified to distinguish one from another. This level of skill is critical for developing the right treatment plan, for if the diagnosis is wrong, everything that follows will be wrong.

Ahead of the Pack: The Latest, Most Promising Treatments

  • Roswell Park is equipped to perform advanced molecular testing. This provides us with highly specific information about your tumor so we can match it with the drugs or immunotherapies that are likely to work best.
  • We developed SurVaxM, a therapeutic vaccine (immunotherapy) for glioblastoma, the most common and most aggressive of all brain cancers. 
  • We are the first center in Western New York to acquire the Olympus ORBEYE®, a unique video microscope system that gives the neurosurgeon and the entire operating team a magnified, 3D view of the operating field — four times sharper than high definition. The only system of its kind in the world, it increases patient safety during surgery and improves the chances for complete removal of malignant glioma when used in conjunction with fluorescence guidance.
  • We were the first center in Western New York to offer expanded endoscopic endonasal skull base surgery, a procedure in which skull-base tumors can be removed through the nose, without opening the skull.
  • We were the first center in Western New York to provide Gamma Knife radiosurgery — the most precise radiosurgery tool available — for the treatment of brain tumors, and the first cancer center in the nation to later upgrade to the more advanced Icon model. The director of our Gamma Knife Center, a world-renowned radiation oncologist, has personally treated more than 12,000 patients during his career and has trained physicians at 69 centers in North America, South America, Europe Australia, Africa, and Asia.
  • We were the first center in Western New York to offer Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy (LITT), a minimally invasive neurosurgery that uses heat to destroy cancerous or other damaged tissue in the brain.

A Physician Who Helps Set the National Standards

Andrew Fabiano, MD, FAANS, Department of Neurosurgery and Oncology, is among the experts who serve on the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) panel that writes the national guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of central nervous system cancers, including brain cancers. Dr. Fabiano has been named a North American Spine Society (NASS) 20 Under 40 Spine Surgeon based on his professional accomplishments, community service and philosophy of care, and has been named by the American Board of Neurological Surgery (ABNS) as a guest examiner.

The Assurance of Multidisciplinary Care

At Roswell Park, every case is reviewed at the same time by a team of specialists from different fields, including neurosurgery, neuro-oncology and neurology, neuroradiology, neuropathology and radiation medicine. In some cases, patients have come to Roswell Park from other centers after being told their tumors were inoperable, but our physicians — bringing together their unique sets of knowledge, experience and specialty training — found ways to make surgery or other personalized treatment plans not only possible but successful.

The Same Expert Care for Benign Tumors and Brain Disorders

If you have a benign brain tumor (not cancer) or another type of brain disorder — for example, trigeminal neuralgia, acoustic neuroma, arteriovenous malformation, entrapment neuropathies or arachnoid cyst — you’ll be in good hands at Roswell Park.  Find out if we treat your non-cancer condition at Roswell Park: Call 1-800-ROSWELL (1-800-767-9355).

Clinical Genetics Service

Although we don’t know what causes most brain tumors, people with certain rare genetic disorders may be at risk. Roswell Park’s Clinical Genetics Service is the only center in Buffalo with formally trained genetic counselors who specialize exclusively in assessing inherited cancer risk.

All the Services You’ll Need — In One Location

We provide specialized and supportive services in one location for greater convenience, coordination of care and close communication among the members of your Roswell Park team.

Before You Choose a Neurosurgeon or a Hospital

Before you choose a neurosurgeon, ask:

  • How many times have you performed this type of surgery?
  • How often has the surgery been successful?
  • What are your complication rates — and those of your hospital?
  • Will I be able to contact the Neurosurgery team directly if I have a question or concern about my surgery?

Before you choose a hospital, ask:

  • Does the hospital specialize in cancer?
  • Does the hospital have a program that focuses exclusively on brain tumors?
  • Does the hospital offer other services I may need — such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, physical therapy — at the same center?
  • Will my cancer doctors be able to review my records and communicate easily and directly with each other?
  • Will I have access to the latest therapies and technologies?
  • Does the hospital offer after-hours care for urgent medical issues?

And ask yourself: Have the neurosurgeon and the team addressed my concerns in a thorough, respectful, compassionate way?