A Message from Dr. Nicholas Marko, Director of the UC Brain Tumor Center

Nicholas Marko, MD

Whenever we see a patient with a new brain tumor diagnosis, we are often meeting that person on the worst day of their lives. First and foremost, patients want answers to their questions and guidance down this uncertain path from a comprehensive team comprising the best possible experts.

It is our life’s work to care for patients at their most vulnerable, frightened, and sickest moments. We have spent our lives training for it, and we are backed by the facilities and resources of one of the nation’s top medical institutions. The University of Cincinnati Brain Tumor Center offers exactly the technical and surgical expertise, state-of-the-art treatment options, and access to clinical trials that every brain tumor patient and their family wants, paired with a healing environment and a compassionate team of caregivers.

Every aspect of the UC Brain Tumor Center was designed to provide not only world-class clinical care, but also alleviate patient fears and provide comfort while guiding patients through treatment. We take pride in our ability to deliver a truly multidisciplinary, patient-centric, concierge approach to brain tumor treatment unlike anything you will find anywhere else in the region.

The best doctors and treatment options available

Our goal is to provide a world-class resource for patients with brain tumors, for their families, and for outside physicians who would like the assistance of subspecialized experts in managing these conditions.  We accomplish this by bringing together a diverse team of physicians, advanced practitioners, nurses, and other healthcare professionals whose practices are specifically dedicated to the management of patients with brain tumors.

Our clinicians have unparalleled resources and the latest technologies for advanced diagnostic imaging, complex surgery, radiosurgery and radiotherapy, chemotherapy, inpatient and outpatient follow-up care, and neurologic rehabilitation.

 All your doctors together, at one time

We operate multidisciplinary brain tumor clinics at both our Clifton and West Chester campuses, where patients are seen by a neuro-oncologist, a radiation oncologist, and a brain tumor neurosurgeon in the same place and at the same time.  This allows us to bring all of the clinical expertise needed for complex decision-making directly to the bedside and ensures that treatment decisions are made in a timely and efficient manner.

Most importantly, these physicians work together during a single clinic visit to explain the various treatment options and their risks and benefits to patients and their families and to be certain that all of their questions and concerns are fully addressed before the visit is over.

The University of Cincinnati Brain Tumor Center is the region’s only fully-integrated, multidisciplinary program focused on treating patients with benign and malignant tumors of the brain, pituitary gland, and skull base.   The center is a part of the University of Cincinnati Gardner Neuroscience Institute and the UC Cancer Institute, which are collaborations between UC Health and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.

One team with one plan

Behind the scenes, our clinicians are in constant contact, and we have a full-time brain tumor nurse navigator dedicated to coordinating this complex care and interacting with patient and their families on an ongoing basis.

We create the treatment plans during our weekly tumor board, which brings together an extended group of physicians from neuro-radiology, neuro-oncology, neurosurgery, radiation oncology, neuro-pathology, neuro-ophthalmology, head and neck surgery, and endocrinology to review every new Brain Tumor Center patients, as well as to discuss every patient whose tumors progress or change.   We discuss the group’s opinions with patients during our multidisciplinary clinic visits, so patients can have confidence in knowing that the management strategies that we suggest are backed by the input of the entire UC brain tumor team.

We also invite clinicians from the greater Cincinnati region (and, in fact, from anywhere in the world) to join in our tumor board virtually to seek input from our experts regarding the management of their most complex brain tumor patients.

Ongoing team approach

Our focus on patient experience doesn’t end with diagnosis and treatment.  We realize that the acute setting is only one part of a larger process for patients with brain tumors.  Because many patients can benefit from rehabilitation, we work closely with our colleagues in rehabilitative medicine at the Drake Center and at Health South to provide rehab services tailored for patients undergoing brain tumor therapy.

Care continues in the outpatient setting once patients return home.  Here, we continue to prioritize patient experience by providing a single phone number that connects patients and outside physicians with our brain tumor nurse navigator, whose principal function is to coordinate the complex, ongoing care required for optimal treatment of brain tumor patients.  This system is designed to provide convenient, easy, and timely access to whatever expertise and resources are needed to ensure that patients continue to receive the best possible care throughout the entire course of their treatment.

Access to the latest research and clinical trials

World-class clinical care is a key focus of our efforts, but research and education are also priorities of the UC Brain Tumor Center.  We provide a wide variety of opportunities for patients to contribute to basic and translational brain tumor research being performed at the University of Cincinnati.  We also host a comprehensive set of clinical trials that may further enhance the quality of care and the therapeutic options available to our patients at every stage of their treatment.

Patient support and education

Throughout treatment, we provide patients with educational materials and resources to ensure that you are fully informed and engages in your own care.  Because there is much more to caring for patients than what happens in the doctor’s office or in the operating room, we host support groups for brain tumor patients and their caregivers and provide ongoing education throughout the treatment process.

We also have the privilege of working with a dedicated group of community-based volunteers and advisors who help us with every aspect of the work that we do.  This community advisory group provides input and feedback on our programs, raises funds to advance brain tumor research, and helps to ensure that patients with brain tumors are connected to the survivorship community in the greater Cincinnati area.  We are proud of the fact that many of our current and former patients go on to contribute to these community support efforts.

Our mission is to provide world-class clinical care, education for patients, families, and clinicians, and cutting-edge research to patients with brain tumors.  Our passion is achieving these goals while providing an unparalleled patient experience.

 

It is our privilege to be with you on some of the most difficult days of your lives, and on every day that follows.

 

Nicholas Marko, MD
Director, UC Brain Tumor Center

 

 

 

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