Brain & Spinal Cord Cancers

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What to Expect

How to Schedule an Appointment

If you are interested in scheduling an appointment with a member of the Neuro-oncology team, please call a patient service specialist at (206) 598-6661.  

When you come to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance for diagnosis and treatment for a brain or spinal cord cancer, you will be treated with the utmost care and respect. Information below will help answer some of your questions about what you can expect when you come to SCCA. 

Newly Diagnosed

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with cancer of the brain or spinal cord, generally the quicker a patient receives treatment the better the outcome may be.

It can be helpful to ask a friend or family member to go with you to doctor appointments and tests. This person can provide emotional support and can also help by taking notes and keeping track of questions you want to ask.

There are over 100 different types of brain cancer. The treatment a friend or relative received may not be the best treatment for the tumor you have.
 
You may want to join a support group, or talk to a social worker, or chaplain. Social workers are available to assist with the emotional and practical aspects of coping with illness. Read more about Practical & Emotional Support.

Where Will I Be Seen?

Patients with brain and spinal cord cancers seeking treatment will be seen by University of Washington Medicine faculty physicians at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) or University of Washington Medical Center. Some treatments, for example the Gamma knife, are at Harborview Medical Center.

Shared outpatient clinic space between medical neuro-oncology, radiation oncology, and surgical neuro-oncology provide patients with faster access to doctors and nurses that are experts in many fields. This also gives patients the opportunity to learn about more treatment options that are available in one clinic appointment.

Clinic Locations

  • The Medical and Surgical Neuro-Oncology clinics are located on the third floor in Surgery Pavilion at University of Washington Medical Center.
  • The Neuro-Oncology Clinic at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance is located on the fourth floor.

Treatment Locations

  • Radiation oncology treatments - UW Medical Center - 1st floor Cancer Center. Take the Pacific Elevators.
  • Gamma Knife Treatments - Harborview Medical Center, Ground floor, East hospital section, Room 44.
  • Chemotherapy infusion treatments - SCCA, 5th floor.  UWMC, 8th floor ( take the Cascade Elevators).
  • Surgery is performed at UW Medical Center.

Your First Visit - What to bring to your appointment

It is important to bring any records from your other treating doctors and hospitals. This includes MRI and CT scans, pathology slides, and written summaries of your treatments and progress. During your visit to the Neuro-Oncology Clinic, you can expect to:

  • Receive recommendations from your expert health-care team for the best treatment for your illness, including medical risks and benefits, research studies, and anticipated outcomes.
  • Have your questions about diagnosis, treatment, research, and care options thoroughly answered.
  • Meet other members of the team including the clinic nurse, who is available during clinic visits and by telephone in between visits. The clinic nurse can help if you have questions about what you learned during your visit, if you have symptoms that concern you, or if you are concerned about the effects of treatment or side effects of medicines.
  • Leave the clinic with a clear understanding about your cancer diagnosis, treatment plan, and prognosis.
  • Meet with a member of the research team if appropriate for your care.

Transportation Between Clinics and Treatment Centers

There is free shuttle service between the various clinics. See the descriptions and links below for schedules and route information.