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Ask the Doctor: Jose Carrillo, M.D.

Q. How does a neuro-oncologist complement a brain tumor patient’s multidisciplinary team?

A. Neuro-oncologists treat both primary brain tumors (tumors that originate in the brain) as well as metastatic brain tumors from other locations. As cancer treatments improve overall, we see patients living longer, which in turn means that we also see more metastatic brain tumors.

Patients in these later stages of cancer can experience numerous side effects due to their tumor. A neuro-oncologist can provide relief from side effects such as seizures, epilepsy, weakness, speech difficulties, and swelling.

Our primary role in the multidisciplinary team is utilizing chemotherapy and other treatments in slowing the progress or shrinking the brain tumor. Often, it is through clinical trials that are paired with standard therapy. Hoag has invested significantly in building access to an assortment of clinical trials – addressing metastatic brain tumors, higher grade brain tumors and even using immunotherapy, a drug combination that arms a patient’s own immune system to fight the growth of cancer.

Working together with a multidisciplinary team means Hoag patients will receive truly comprehensive care, starting with their diagnosis and throughout treatment. From day one, we plan together to devise a multidisciplinary treatment plan.

This plan is often reviewed during Hoag’s Brain Tumor Board. Weekly, we discuss new patients and challenging cases to get a full team approach and consensus. This team includes Neuro-Radiologist, Neurologic Pathologist, Neurologic Surgeons, Radiation Oncologist, Neurologic Oncologists, Medical Oncologists, members of Hoag’s Precision Medicine Program and a dedicated Brain Tumor Clinical Nurse Navigator.

Jose Carrillo, M.D., is a neuro-oncologist with the Hoag Neuro-Oncology Clinic.