Advances in the Treatment of Brain & Spine Cancer

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The Brain and Spine Center at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center is the largest of its kind in the world. At this facility state-of-the-art technologies and robust research are providing innovative new treatment alternatives for patients with brain tumors. In this Patient Power program, Dr. Leonard Zwelling, Vice President of Research Administration at M. D. Anderson acts as special guest host while Andrew is on vacation.

Dr. Raymond Sawaya, Director of the Brain Tumor Center at M. D. Anderson joins Dr. Zwelling to discuss brain tumors. You’ll hear about primary and metastatic brain tumors and the occurrence and risks associated with this type of cancer. Dr. Sawaya speaks at length about the general approach to treating brain tumors including surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. You’ll hear about innovations in technology such as BrainSUITE, Gamma Knife radiosurgery and proton therapy that are changing the future of brain cancer treatment. Dr. Sawaya also discusses why the multi-disciplinary team approach that includes neuropathologists, neuroradiologists, neurosurgeons and neuro-oncologists is crucial to correct patient management.

You’ll also hear from Dr. Sawaya’s patient, Tracy, a lawyer living in Houston, who was diagnosed with a highly malignant form of brain tumor called glioblastoma in late 2002 while pregnant. She tells of her symptoms that she first attributed to job stress and pregnancy. Tracy speaks candidly about her experiences at other hospitals and why she chose to go to M. D. Anderson for treatment. Today she’s living well post-treatment and enjoying her life as a wife and mother.

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Dr. Zwelling:

Welcome to Patient Power, the every two week series with many replays, and the upcoming schedule is on This is part of M. D. Anderson's commitment, whether you are an Anderson patient now or ever become one, for you and your family to know the latest about cancer from a credible source.

Andrew Schorr is on vacation. My name is Dr. Leonard Zwelling. I'm a member of the faculty of M. D. Anderson. The subject tonight is brain tumors. We're going to be speaking with Dr. Ray Sawaya, who is chairman of neurosurgery a little bit later.

But first we want to talk to one of our patients. Tracy Schoettelkotte is a patient from M. D. Anderson who is a Vermont native and a graduate of the University of Texas Law School in 2002, after which she got married and got pregnant. She was at a law firm in Houston in September of 2002, and then her life changed dramatically. And I'm going to let Tracy tell you a little bit of what happened next.

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