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Your Medical Team for Brain Tumor Treatment at the University of Colorado Cancer Center

University of Colorado Hospital and the University of Colorado Cancer Center use a team approach to your care.

Drawing from elite ranks of specialists

We bring all types of cancer specialists – including surgeons, oncologists, pathologists, radiologists, nurses, social workers, geneticists, counselors and more – to review your case, follow its progress, and develop ways to achieve the best results. And since we’re the only hospital in the region to partner with the renowned University of Colorado School of Medicine, we have a varied and valuable pool of specialists and experts to draw from.

Medical knowledge, as you might know, doubles every four years. Keeping up with it all is often hard for a community physician. But because each attending physician here is on the faculty of the School of Medicine, each not only knows the latest proven treatments and research, but also teaches it.

What it means for you

It means that each doctor on your care team has precise, ongoing training in his or her area of expertise and a specific interest in brain tumor treatment.

During their weekly Brain Tumor Conference, these doctors combine their expertise to explore the best available treatment options for each patient.

Below is a list of the kinds of experts on our team who are at your service.

Core Neuro-oncology Team

Neuro-oncologists – Physicians who have been trained in diagnosing and treating tumors of the nervous system (brain and spinal cord). Our on-staff neuro-oncologist, Denise Damek, MD, is the only fellowship-trained adult neuro-oncology specialist in the state.

Neurosurgeons – Doctors who practice neurosurgery, or surgery that focuses on nervous system conditions. Our neurosurgery team includes Neuro-Oncology Director Kevin Lillehei, MD, who has been recognized consistently by 5280 magazine as one of the state’s best neurological surgeons. Learn more about the neurosurgery team at the CU School of Medicine.

Radiation Oncologists – Our radiation oncology team includes Laurie Gaspar, MD, a board-certified radiation oncologist whose expertise includes brain tumors. She chairs our Radiation Oncology Group, a nationally-recognized group with significant expertise in brain tumors, as well as other cancer types.

Neuropathologists – Doctors who have specialized training in diseases of the central nervous system and brain. They identify diseases by viewing tissue under a microscope. Our on-staff neuropathologist, Bette K. “B.K.” Kleinschmidt-DeMasters, MD, is recognized nationally as an expert in neuropathology, and she directs the Department of Neuropathology at the school of medicine.

Neurologists – In some cases, neurologists specializing in epilepsy may provide intra-operative monitoring to avoid or minimize any problems after surgery. They also provide prolonged video-EEG monitoring, which is used to evaluate difficult to manage seizures.

Neuroradiologists – Radiologists who specializes in diagnosing or reading neurological studies, such as CAT Scans, MRIs, MR Spectroscopy/Perfusion Studies, CT-PET.

Our staff neuroradiologists include:

  • Robert Bert, MD, PhD, an associate professor whose clinical interests include cerebrovascular hemodynamics, minimally invasive treatments of central nervous system tumors and molecular contributions of MRI signal.
  • Jody L. Tanabe, MD, an associate professor of radiology and psychiatry, who is board certified in radiology and neuroradiology. Clinical interests include functional MRI.
  • David Rubinstein, MD, an associate professor and director of the Radiology Residency Program. Board certified in radiology, his clinical interests are neuroradiology and neuro-vascular imaging.
  • Alexander Grimm, MD, an assistant professor, who is board certified in radiology. His clinical interests include brain and spine CT scans, MRI scans and myelography.

Other Professionals

Geneticists – Scientists who study genetics and its impact on diseases and conditions.

Nurse Practitioners (NPs) – Registered nurses who have completed advanced nursing education (generally a master’s degree), with training in medications and treatment guidelines.

Nurses or Registered Nurses (RNs) – A health care professional who serves as the primary point of contact for patients during the care and recovery process.

Physician Assistants (PAs) – Non-physician clinicians licensed to practice medicine under a licensed physician’s supervision.

Oncology Social Workers – These professionals are experts at working with patients and their families to tend to emotional or physical needs. and to help them find the necessary support services.

Psychologist – A trained professional who can talk with patients and families about emotional or personal matters, and who also can perform cognitive ability testing.

Nutritionist – Nutrition becomes even more important during treatment. This specialist helps you improve nutrition and overcome problems that treatment may cause, such as decreased appetite, altered taste, nausea and difficulty swallowing.

Clinical Research Coordinators (CRCs) – These are the professionals who, under the direction of clinical research associates and principle investigators, coordinate the complex work of research.

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