Multidisciplinary approach to treatment at UCHealth

At our UCHealth Cancer Centers we provide a multidisciplinary approach to patients with brain and spine tumors (malignant and benign). At the Anschutz campus is Colorado’s only NCI designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, and we have locations in metro Denver, Fort Collins, Loveland, and Colorado Springs.

Our Cancer Centers provide a caring team of doctors, nurses and support professionals who work together to develop the best treatment plan for you. We work together with our patients from the moment of diagnosis through the implementation and completion of a uniquely designed treatment plan. Our clinics also conducts and participates in clinical trials aimed at improving the outcomes for the brain and spine tumor patients.

Our team of skilled, board-certified physicians and providers will provide you with a full range of treatment options during your visit. This brain and spine focused collaborative team includes:

  • Neurosurgeons
  • Neuropathologists
  • Neuroradiologists
  • Neuro-oncologists (Anschutz main campus only)
  • Radiation oncologists
  • Psychologists
  • Registered dieticians
  • Social workers
  • Clinical research coordinators
  • Nurse practitioners & physician assistants
  • Oncology nurse navigators
  • Clinical registered nurses

Additional UCHealth clinics and medical professionals who may also contribute their expertise to your care:

  • Geneticists
  • Integrative Medicine Clinic (massage, chiropractic, acupuncture treatments)
  • Reproductive Medicine
Brain tumor diagnostic tests and staging

Once a brain/spine tumor or cancer has been diagnosed, our specialists will determine the stage of your disease. Knowing the stage of your brain or spine tumor allows your medical team to determine the best possible treatment plan for you.

Any combination of these tests and procedures may be used to find and classify (stage) brain tumors and cancers:

  • Neurological examination – Helps find the cause of symptoms and provides a standard way to monitor changes throughout treatment; this will include a complete medical history, a screening of neurological function, diagnostic tests, and possibly blood tests.
  • Angiography, MRI angiography (MRA) – Maps blood vessels in the brain with (angiography) or without (MRA) the use of dye injected into an artery
  • Biopsy – Removes a small amount of cells or tissues for viewing under a microscope to check for signs of cancer
  • CT scan (computed tomography) – Uses a type of X-ray to create detailed, highly accurate, cross-sectional images of the body
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) – Uses a magnetic field instead of X-rays to provide detailed images of body structures
  • PET scan (positron emission tomography) – Uses an injection of a short-lived radioactive substance to create detailed images of body structures that help identify cancer and areas of inflammation in different parts of the body
  • Lumbar puncture  –  A procedure that uses a fine needle inserted into the spinal canal low in the back to collect and look at the fluid (cerebrospinal fluid, or CSF) surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
Brain tumor treatments and therapies

Treatment for brain/spine tumors vary greatly from person to person. Your medical team may use any combination of surgery, chemotherapy, embolization, radiation, or new immunotherapies to control your cancer.


Surgery to remove some or all of the brain tumor, called a craniotomy, and is performed by a specially trained neurosurgeon. The surgeon opens the skull and removes as much tumor as safely as possible.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy (radiotherapy) uses X-rays and other types of medical radiation aimed at specific parts of the brain. The radiation kills cancer cells, prevents cancer cells from developing or recurring, and improves many of cancer’s symptoms. For certain cancers, radiation therapy is combined with chemotherapy and called chemoradiation.


Chemotherapy uses drugs that slow down, damage or kill cancer cells. It may involve single drugs or combinations of drugs given through a vein in your arm or by mouth. Your team will also prescribe drugs to reduce or eliminate chemotherapy’s side effects.

Clinical trials

UCHealth’s partnership with the University of Colorado Cancer Center, Colorado’s only NCI-designated cancer center, enables us to offer patients treatment options and procedures that are the result of the latest science and research. Our emphasis on research means that you don’t just receive life-saving treatment; you join us on the front line as we fight cancers of the brain and spine.

Find out more about our current clinical trials open to patients.