What is the Brain Tumor Program?
Seattle Children’s Brain Tumor Program provides compassionate, comprehensive care for children, adolescents and young adults who have tumors in their brain or spinal cord.
- We treat all types of brain and spinal cord tumors, both benign and malignant.
- We care for children, teens and young adults (up to age 30) from the time their tumor is diagnosed through all phases of treatment and follow-up survivor care.
- We lead national and international research efforts to increase cure and decrease side effects of therapy.
What’s special about the Brain Tumor Program at Seattle Children’s?
Cure rates that are among the best in the world
- Our 5-year survival rates (outcomes) are consistently higher than the national average, and have been for more than 20 years. We are the largest pediatric brain tumor center in the Northwest and one of the busiest programs in the United States.
- At Seattle Children’s, your child will receive the most advanced care, including access to advanced neurosurgical options, proton radiation therapy and clinical trials of promising new therapies.
- U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks Seattle Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center among the top 10 in the country.
Multidisciplinary Brain Tumor Clinic: A compassionate, coordinated approach that improves quality of life
- At our Brain Tumor Clinic, you have a whole team of caring experts who come together to focus on responding to your child’s medical, physical, nutritional, hormonal, learning, emotional and comfort needs. Our specialists work together to coordinate care, often in group visits with you, so there’s one less thing for you to worry about.
- We’re committed to your child’s or teen’s overall health and well-being, during and after treatment. So we’ll partner with you to ensure your child has the best quality of life possible – long after the tumor is gone.
- You know your child or teen best. We’ll discuss treatments in ways you can understand and involve you and your child in every decision.
- Surgery is an essential part of diagnosis and treatment for the majority of patients with brain tumors. Having an experienced pediatric neurosurgeon is of the utmost importance – someone skilled enough to know not just how to operate, but when and what type of surgery is needed in your child’s particular situation. We have more neurosurgeons than any other program in the region.
- Seattle Children’s is the largest and most experienced pediatric neurosurgical center in the Pacific Northwest. Our brain surgeons (neurosurgeons) have extensive experience treating all ages – from newborns through young adults – with all types of brain and spinal cord tumors. Every year, our neurosurgery team treats 70 to 80 children with brain or spinal cord tumors.
We treat newborns through young adults
- Our patients range in age from newborns through young adulthood (up to age 30).
- We care for children all day, every day – not just once in a while. This means everyone on our team has the experience and expertise that can make a real difference for your child.
- Research shows that for certain kinds of cancer, teens and young adults have much better results when they are treated at a pediatric hospital like Seattle Children’s.
- We understand that teens and young adults with cancer have different needs and challenges than children and older adults. Our patient-focused Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Program includes a team that works with your teen to help preserve their fertility while undergoing chemotherapy. We also have the only cancer inpatient unit just for teens and young adults in the country.
Cancer Survivor Program
Our team includes a doctor (oncologist) and nurse practitioner who follow each survivor to check on their health, discuss possible long-term side effects from treatment and offer ways to stay healthy. Read more about our Cancer Survivor Program.
Research: We’re developing better treatments
All major improvements in pediatric brain tumor treatment and survival have been achieved through research. It is the key to finding more effective and safer treatments in the future.
Children, adolescents and young adults treated at Seattle Children’s have the option to participate in research as part of their medical treatment. These treatment options are called clinical or therapeutic trials.
The doctors on our Brain Tumor team are leaders in pediatric cancer research. They lead national clinical trials of novel therapies – new drugs or other new treatment approaches that are available only to patients in studies.
Seattle Children’s has more than a dozen therapeutic trials at any time for various types of brain tumors. These are offered through cooperative groups, including the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), the Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium (PNOC), the Phase 1 Consortium of COG and within our own Center for Clinical and Translational Research.
Contact us at 206-987-2106 to see if there is a clinical trial that would be appropriate for your child’s type of tumor.
Read more about cancer clinical trials at Seattle Children’s and Seattle Children’s Research Institute.
Brain Tumor Board: Combining Our Expertise
Once a week, the whole Brain Tumor team comes together at our Brain Tumor Board meeting. The purpose of this gathering is to combine our skills as we review all the information we have on your child, including health records, tests, images and pathology results. The Brain Tumor Board is a way all our specialists can provide input on each patient, and team members can discuss each patient’s case in detail to offer the safest and most effective treatment plan. The Brain Tumor Board can review cases from anywhere around the world to help doctors or patients who would like a second opinion or are deciding whether to travel to Seattle to receive care. If you are interested in your child’s case being reviewed by the Brain Tumor Board, please have your child’s doctor contact us.
Who’s on the Brain Tumor team?
Our program involves professionals from many fields working together to plan and provide all aspects of care for brain or spinal cord tumors.
Many members of the team are known internationally as experts for their work in treating childhood brain tumors, and lead national groups that study and treat these tumors. All of our team members have special training and years of experience in the unique needs of children and adolescents.
Meet the team
Our neuro-oncologists follow the most up-to-date international information to ensure your child receives state-of-the-art care. As leaders in brain tumor research, our doctors also participate in setting new standards to advance care.
Surgery is an essential part of diagnosis and treatment of most brain and spinal cord tumors. As the leading neurosurgical center in the Pacific Northwest, our surgeons have the most experience with the types of tumors that occur in young people and the unique aspects of neurosurgical care needed to achieve the best possible outcome.
Our radiation oncologist has expertise in all types of radiation therapy, including proton radiation and gamma knife. He will design a unique treatment plan for your child to give the best treatment for the tumor while protecting the developing nervous system.
Rehabilitation medicine physician
- Mary Field, RN, BSN, CPHON
- Tracey Alta, MSW
- Gretchen Clark Bower, MSW
Child life specialists
- Alicia Sevilla, MS, CCLS
- Erin Behen
Family service coordinator
Make an appointment or request a consultation or second opinion
To make an appointment with a Seattle Children’s provider, you can be referred by your child’s primary care provider (or another specialist), or you can call us directly at 206-987-2106.
We encourage families to talk with their primary care provider first to discuss coming to Seattle Children’s specialists. This helps coordinate your care.