New tools improve care for cancers that spread to the brain

Oct. 7, 2020

Efforts at UVA Cancer Center to improve care delivered to patients with cancer that has spread to the brain have yielded important insights and tools that can benefit other hospitals, according to a press release.

The tools include the first set of metrics to assess care provided for these secondary tumors, known as brain metastasis. The UVA team says its findings will help doctors and patients make better-informed treatment decisions, enhance the care of brain metastases, and enable hospitals to improve the coordination and effectiveness of their interdisciplinary treatment programs.

"The proposed set of measurements serves as the framework to gauge the performance of multidisciplinary programs, with the goal of providing optimal consistent and coordinated care to patients with brain metastasis," said Camilo E. Fadul, MD, a neuro-oncologist at UVA Health and UVA Cancer Center.

Brain metastases are the most common tumors affecting the central nervous system. Although any type of cancer can spread to the brain, the most frequent are lung cancer, breast cancer and melanoma.

As patients with cancer are living longer, the frequency of brain metastasis is on the rise. As the result, doctors are seeking to personalize treatment from a menu of options that include surgery, radiation (either targeted stereotactic radiosurgery or whole brain radiation), chemotherapy, targeted oral therapies and immunotherapy. Because of the complexity of treatment decisions and the need to provide safe and consistent patient-centered care, UVA takes an interdisciplinary approach, which brings together providers with expertise in radiation oncology, neuro-oncology, medical oncology, neurosurgery and palliative care.

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