George had some pain in his neck and shoulder. After it became intense with additional symptoms, he was diagnosed with a large brain tumor. He quickly received treatment at Mass General Cancer Center and strongly believes that a positive attitude helps the healing process.
Mass General Cancer Center
55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114
Support the Pappas Center for Neuro-Oncology
Your gift helps our team of brain, spine and nerve specialists at the Pappas Center for Neuro-Oncology provide innovative, personalized treatments for all types of nervous system tumors. Make a gift.
Explore the Neuro-Oncology (Brain Tumors) Treatment Program
We offer the full spectrum of conventional care as well as promising new therapies. We perform the highest volume of acoustic neuroma procedures in New England, and are leaders in glioblastomas, gliomas, meningioma, pituitary adenoma and other common and complex surgical procedures. We are also home to the Cranial Base Program, which focuses on treating tumors of the cranial base, the junction between the brain and the face and neck.
Expertise in Diagnosing and Staging Cancer
Our neuropathologists are sub-specialized in identifying brain, spine and nerve tumors. This expertise leads to more accurate diagnosis and staging, which forms the basis for your treatment. They use conventional tumor analysis techniques, as well as molecular techniques that may uncover tumor markers to guide patient therapy.
Advanced imaging technologies help define the size and shape of the tumor, identify important normal tissue nearby, and aid in removal of the tumor while protecting normal tissue. These include:
- Functional MRI
Medical therapy may include:
- Chemotherapy, including both new and standard medications
- Immunotherapy, a personalized vaccine created with a patient’s own tumor cells to stimulate a tumor-specific response
- Angiogenesis inhibitors, new drugs that mount a two-fold attack on tumors, halting the growth of disorganized blood vessels and normalizing them, which makes it easier for other therapies to reach their target
- Targeted therapies, designed to attack specific molecular abnormalities in the tumor
Excellence in Surgical Care
Our surgeons have extensive experience treating brain tumors while minimizing damage to surrounding structures. Advanced surgical techniques include:
- Image-guided neurosurgery
- Intraoperative MRI and CT imaging
- Brachytherapy, radiotherapy implants placed at tumor margins to enhance tumor destruction
- Microsurgery, operating on tiny structures through a microscope, often used for cranial base tumors
- Endoscopic cranial base surgery, a noninvasive way to remove tumors through natural openings such as the nasal passages
Learn more about Mass General Neurosurgery.
Multidisciplinary Patient Care
Our multidisciplinary team of brain, spine and nerve cancer experts will develop and implement an integrated, care plan personalized to each patient. Depending on the stage and other characteristics of a patient’s cancer, treatment may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of these therapies. Many clinical trials are also offered through our program.
Your treatment team may include:
- Neuro-oncologists design the most appropriate combination of chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and/or targeted therapy for your particular cancer
- Neurosurgeons provide the most advanced surgical techniques to maximize tumor removal and maintain neurologic function
- Radiation oncologists offer innovative radiation therapy techniques customized to your individual needs and designed to deliver the most therapeutic radiation to the cancer while preserving normal nearby tissue
- Oncology nurses and nurse practitioners bring special expertise in cancer care
- Neuroradiologists use the latest imaging methods to evaluate tumors, assist in surgical planning, and monitor the results of treatment
- Neuropathologists evaluate all tumor samples to provide precise diagnostic information, including any biomarkers that can help your team design the best treatment plan for you
- Palliative care providers work with your team to address pain and quality-of-life concerns
- Oncology psychiatrists, social workers, and chaplains provide family, spiritual, emotional, and mental health support
- Oncology nutritionists help with dietary issues to enhance your health and well-being during treatment
Your team will develop and implement an integrated, personalized care plan for you. Depending on the stage and other characteristics of your cancer, the treatment may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of these therapies. Members of your care team meet regularly with you and your referring physician to ensure clear communication and seamless coordination of care.
Pioneering Radiation Therapies
Our radiation oncologists offer a range of therapies designed to shrink or destroy tumors while protecting normal tissue. Advanced technologies include:
- Proton beam therapy: we have the longest experience in the U.S. in using protons to treat brain tumors
- Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), converging beams that focus a large dose of radiation on the tumor, which we also offer with proton therapy
- Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), advanced computer-generated radiation beam configurations
- 3-D conformal radiation, beams of radiation configured to match the contours of the tumor
We offer an extensive array of clinical trials with a focus on new therapies for many types of brain tumors including glioblastoma. Some promising areas of our clinical and laboratory research include:
- Genetic variations in brain tumors
- New therapeutic agents
- New ways to assess the effects of therapy
- Enhancing sensitivity to chemotherapy
Learn about the Termeer Center for Targeted Therapies.
Pappas Center Brain Donation Program
A brain donation improves our understanding of these tumors and can enable research that leads to treatment innovations. It is also a chance for family and friends to learn more about their loved one's tumor. We appreciate your consideration of this generous gift to research and to future patients.
Meet the Team
Our multidisciplinary group of brain, spine and nerve cancer experts will develop and implement an integrated, care plan personalized to each patient.
- Executive Director, Pappas Center for Neuro-Oncology
- Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School
- Director, MGH/DFCI/BWH Neuro-Oncology Fellowship Program
- Clinical Director, MGH Pappas Center for Neuro-Oncology
- Director, Family Center for Neurofibromatosis
- Department of Radiation Oncology
- Chief, Neurosurgery Service, Mass General
- William and Elizabeth Sweet Professor of Neurosurgery Harvard Medical School
- Chair, Department of Neurosurgery
- Co-Director, Mass General Neuroscience
- Director of Neurosurgical Oncology
- Medical Director, MGH Proton Therapy Centers
- Director, CNS & Eye Service
- Program Director, Proton Therapy Fellowship
Genetic counseling for patients w/family history of cancers of the central nervous system.
This program addresses the unique needs of patients with cancer ages 15-39.
We offer a wide range of integrative therapies, workshops and support groups.
A checklist of items to bring with you for your first visit and helpful information.
The Story Project
The Cancer Center’s Story Project is an effort to capture stories from our community of patients, friends, family, clinicians, and staff who have been affected by cancer in some way.
Maryann Fitzgerald and Dr. Justin Jordan
“I know when [Dr. Jordan] talks about others who have gone through this, he knows we are all different…. He treats me as an individual, as if I’m the first person to ever have a brain tumor. He thinks about me.”
"My focus has changed, I take every day as it comes, and feel more connected to others, especially my family and close friends. I try to 'stay cool' and look for the positive every day."
Related News and Articles
- Patient Story
- May | 1 | 2021
Kent thought seeing white spots and feeling dizzy was a result of moving his full-time teaching job online during the pandemic. Now he believes working remotely saved his life as he was able to get diagnosed quickly with a glioblastoma and have treatment at Mass General Cancer Center.
- Patient Story
- Jan | 22 | 2021
In 2016, Jane noticed she was leaning towards the left when driving her car. She pursued medical attention, which identified a brain tumor. Jane immediately reached out to Mass General. After one call to the International Patient Center, Jane was ready to start treatment at Mass General.
- Patient Story
- Jul | 8 | 2021
Simeon Moses came to Massachusetts General Hospital when he could not find a physician to properly treat his headaches. Brian Nahed, MD, MSc, of the Department of Neurosurgery, successfully removed Simeon 's meningioma and alleviated his painful headaches
- Patient Story
- Jul | 8 | 2021
Janis Clouthier came to Massachusetts General Hospital, after not finding the right fit with another neurosurgeon, she found Brian Nahed, MD, MSc, of the Department of Neurosurgery, to treat her meningioma.