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Brain Tumor Collaboration — It Takes a Village

brain tumor awarenessMay is Brain Tumor Awareness Month, an official recognition by the U.S. House of Representatives that originated in May 2008.

Brain Tumor Facts

Each year more than 200,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with primary or metastatic brain tumors.

Metastatic brain tumors, cancer that spreads from other parts of the body to the brain, are the most common types of brain tumors.

Brain tumors are the leading cause of solid tumor death in children under the age of 20. They are the second leading cause of cancer death in males, ages 20-29, and the fifth leading cause of cancer death in females, ages 20-39.

There are over 120 different types of brain tumors. They can be malignant or non-malignant (benign), and both can be life threatening.

Brain tumors in children are different than those in adults, and thus are treated differently.

As many as 69% of children will survive a brain tumor, but often with long-term side effects.

Anyone can be diagnosed with a brain tumor—regardless of gender or ethnicity.

ANA’s role

At Advanced Neurosurgery Associates (ANA), we are on the cutting edge of brain tumor diagnosis and treatment for both children and adults. The brain is a complex organ, and thus so are brain tumors. That is why a crucial focus for any brain tumor treatment entails a collaborative approach.

A collaborative approach means working as a team to ensure an accurate diagnosis with the most effective treatment possible, keeping side effects to a minimum. At ANA, we not only understand the complicated medical aspect of brain tumors, but the profound effect they have on both patients and families.

This complex task requires a group of specialists that include but are not limited to experts in:

  • Neurosurgery
  • Neuropathology
  • Neuroradiology
  • Neuro-oncology
  • Radiation oncology
  • Rehabilitation therapy

In addition to the medical needs of patients, other specialists such as psychologists and psychiatrists contribute to the psychological and emotional welfare of both patients and their families.

Clinical Trials

For many patients with brain tumors, clinical trials offer the best treatment options.
Clinical trials are studies designed to test the most promising new treatments. People participate in clinical trials for a variety of reasons. They want to:

  • Try a new and promising treatment method
  • Contribute to the development of future treatments
  • Help find a cure

Most clinical trials require certain medical criteria in order for a patient to qualify. Some trials can be joined before surgery, others during radiation, still others in the event of recurrence. At ANA, we determine whether a patient is eligible and best served by a number of clinical trails.

Collaboration also extends to organizations that serve as hubs for experts to share their knowledge and research. Dr. Arno Fried explains that memberships in these organizations allow patients “to get the best treatment available—whether they are at Hackensack, Morristown or a hospital in any other part of the country.”

One of the organizations with which ANA works is The Children’s Oncology Group (COG). COG is a National Cancer Institute-supported clinical trials group, which is the world’s largest organization devoted exclusively to childhood and adolescent cancer research. In the fight against childhood cancer, the COG unites more than 8,000 experts in childhood cancer at more than 200 leading children’s hospitals, universities, and cancer centers across North America, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe.

In only 50 years, the research from Children’s Oncology Group has turned children’s cancer from a virtually incurable disease to one with a combined 5-year survival rate of 80%. Our goals are a follows:

  • Cure all children and adolescents with cancer
  • Reduce the short- and long-term complications of cancer treatments
  • Determine the causes and find ways to prevent childhood cancer

Dr. Fried is also on the Medical Advisory Board of Virtualtrials.com. This organization is funded by The Musella Foundation For Brain Tumor Research & Information, Inc, a 501(C)3 nonprofit public charity dedicated to helping brain tumor patients through emotional and financial support, education, advocacy, and raising money for brain tumor research.

In summary, one may say that in the diagnosis and treatment of the complicated malady of brain tumors, it takes a village. That is the unique understanding and approach at Advanced Neurosurgery Associates.