Brain and Spine Tumor Center

Lifespan Cancer Institute

The Brain and Spine Tumor Center at Lifespan

The Brain and Spine Tumor Center at the Lifespan Cancer Institute of Rhode Island, The Miriam, and Newport hospitals provides comprehensive evaluation, diagnosis and treatment for patients with primary and secondary (metastatic) tumors of the brain, spine, or peripheral nervous system. We also treat neurological complications that result from the treatment of systemic cancer.

Our multidisciplinary, team-based approach brings together our nationally recognized specialists and health care professionals from oncology, neurology, neurosurgery, radiation oncology, neuropathology, psychiatry, nursing, and social work. We meet weekly to discuss the circumstances of each patient’s condition and treatment in a neuro-oncology tumor board. These meetings ensure that treatment plans are tailored to each patient’s needs. Every patient is considered an active candidate for our research trials and has access to our evidence-based, state-of-the-art care.

What We Treat

Our division is the only one of its kind in the region, serving patients throughout Rhode Island and southeastern New England. We are organized into specialized centers and programs targeted to specific tumor types.

There are many types of tumors that can affect the brain and central nervous system, with differing symptoms, prognoses, and treatment plans. Some of the more common types of tumors are:

  • Meningiomas, which are tumors of the protective lining of the brain cavity that can occur in the spinal cord or brain. Meningiomas infrequently become malignant.
  • Gliomas, which are malignant tumors of the brain’s supportive tissue (glial cells) that protects nerve cells. Astrocytomas, glioblastomas, oligodendrogliomas, and ependymomas are all types of gliomas.​
  • Metastatic brain and spine tumors, which spread from cancer in other parts of the body. Much more common than primary brain tumors, which originate in the brain, metastatic tumors are always malignant and are most commonly seen in patients with lung cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, melanoma, or lymphoma.​
  • Cancer that spreads to the leptomeninges (the two innermost membranes covering the brain and spinal cord) from systemic cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma, lung, breast, and gastrointestinal cancer.
  • Benign, noncancerous, brain and spinal tumors, including schwannoma (also known as a vestibular or acoustic neuroma), a benign tumor of the hearing nerve; chordoma, a benign tumor that forms at either the base of the skull or the end of the spine; and pituitary adenoma, a benign, slow-growing tumor arising from the pituitary gland.

Symptoms of Brain and Spine Tumors

Symptoms caused by a brain tumor depend on where the tumor is located, which functions are controlled by that area of the brain, and the size of the tumor. Symptoms can include:

  • Seizures
  • Persistent headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Memory problems
  • Personality changes
  • Loss of sensation or weakness in extremities
  • Loss of balance
  • Fatigue
  • Problems with vision or speech

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please contact a primary care provider or the Lifespan Cancer Institute.

Research assistants at Hasbro Children's Hospital

Cancer Research and Clinical Trials

Learn more about the innovative cancer research and treatments at the Lifespan Cancer Institute.

Meet Art

Grandfather, Optimist and Cancer Survivor

It was after playing tennis with friends one Sunday in January 2016 that the pleasant rhythm of Art's full life came to a sudden halt.

Brain and Spine Tumor Center Locations