Glioma care at Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic specialists are respected for their expertise and experience caring for people with brain tumors, including those with all types of glioma.

Your Mayo Clinic care team

Kay Pool: I've been skating since I was five. One of my favorite things to do is to bring the kids and be able to have them involved in that, too. My first symptoms, I had two grand mal seizures. We have a young family, we were expecting a baby. Then in December I had a major focal seizure. I couldn't speak at all.

Daniel Lachance, M.D.: Ms. Pool came to Mayo Clinic after having some epileptic seizures and those seizures led to imaging studies of the brain, and we shortly learned that she had a glioma, which is a type of primary tumor of the brain.

Ian Parney, M.D.: One of the things, though, that was very unique about her case was that when this happened, she was expecting. She was 21 weeks pregnant. The best treatment for baby is the best treatment for mom in these situations, so we wanted to go ahead and think about surgery for her. That was a complex thing.

Kay Pool: We had already talked to Dr. Lachance, so we knew what they had suggested, which was to have the awake brain surgery. And we talked to Dr. Parney. He was very specific about what was going to happen, so we didn't have to wonder.

Byron Pool: You know, it's not an operation that happens every day. And she was confident, he was confident. And because of where the tumor was and the fact that it affected her speech, that was kind of our only option.

Ian Parney, M.D.: I can't overemphasize how important it is to have experience in managing things as brain tumors. Here at Mayo Clinic, we perform over 1,000 brain tumor procedures per year just in Rochester alone.

Byron Pool: We really like the fact that they weren't afraid to ask other doctors questions either. We felt like we had a real team working for us.

Ian Parney, M.D.: We had folks from neurology, from neuro-oncology, from neurosurgery.

Daniel Lachance, M.D.: And then a high-risk obstetrics team to help manage the pregnancy.

Ian Parney, M.D.: Everybody just brings a wealth of experience, which really translates to better outcomes.

Kay Pool: We just felt like everyone felt confident about this being the best choice for us.

Ian Parney, M.D.: She came through the surgery very well, without any major neurological problems. One of the really cool things for me was at the end of the procedure we had the ultrasound of the baby, and I swear the baby waved at me. It was really an exciting thing.

Kay Pool: I'm really thankful that I get to be a mom to two great kids. Really enjoying that time day to day has been wonderful.

At Mayo Clinic, specialists within the Brain Tumor Program work together to provide comprehensive care for people with glioma. Your care team might include neuro-oncologists, neurosurgeons, neurologists, oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists and radiologists. This means that you're not getting just one opinion. You benefit from the knowledge and experience of each specialist.

Close collaboration enables the team to have your test results available quickly and to coordinate scheduling your appointments. Evaluation and treatment that might take months elsewhere can typically be done in only a matter of days at Mayo Clinic.

Advanced diagnosis and treatment

Your brain tumor care team works together to provide comprehensive care.

Accurate diagnosis is critical for providing appropriate treatment for each person. Once you start down a treatment path, it may not be possible to change therapies. With brain tumor experts focused on glioma care, Mayo Clinic doctors are able to make accurate diagnoses and recommend appropriate treatments from the start.

Doctors at Mayo Clinic have access to the latest imaging technology to make an accurate diagnosis and plan treatment. This includes advanced types of MRI, such as functional MRI, perfusion MRI and magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

Mayo Clinic specialists care for many people referred by their doctors from local clinics that aren't equipped to treat them. For example, Mayo Clinic experts have experience treating glioma during pregnancy and performing MRIs on people with implanted devices, such as pacemakers.

Mayo Clinic neurosurgeons use the latest operative techniques to treat glioma. Examples include:

These techniques increase the amount of the glioma that can be safely removed during surgery, while reducing the risk of functional deficits. Using these advanced approaches to surgery improves outcomes and increases quality of life after surgery.

At Mayo Clinic, you have access to a full range of treatment options. This includes many innovative types of radiation therapy that allow doctors to deliver radiation directly to the glioma. These include:

Mayo Clinic doctors use the latest techniques to deliver chemotherapy and targeted therapy to the brain. This includes wafer-based chemotherapy treatment and using a pump to deliver medicine directly to the brain, which is called convection-enhanced delivery.

A patient undergoing stereotactic radiosurgery. Stereotactic radiosurgery system at Mayo Clinic

Nationally recognized expertise

The Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center meets the strict standards for a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center. These standards recognize scientific excellence and a multispecialty approach focused on cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Mayo Clinic participates in the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology. This organization brings together scientists throughout the U.S. and Canada. They work together to conduct clinical trials and reduce the impact of cancer.

Expertise and rankings

Mayo Clinic specialists are widely respected for their expertise and experience in caring for people with brain tumors.

  • Experience caring for many people with brain tumors. The Brain Tumor Program brings together many specialists to provide comprehensive care for people with brain tumors. Mayo Clinic brain tumor specialists care for more than 3,000 adults and children with glioma brain tumors every year.
  • Skilled neurosurgeons who perform many procedures every year. If surgery is the most appropriate treatment, you want to be in the hands of experienced surgeons who perform these operations frequently. Mayo Clinic neurosurgeons perform hundreds of brain tumor surgeries each year. They use the latest technological advances available to them, including computer-assisted brain surgery, intraoperative MRI, awake brain surgery and lasers.
  • Leadership in brain tumor research. With the goal of seeking new knowledge and improving the reliability, comfort and cost of care, Mayo Clinic doctors continually study new diagnostic and treatment options through clinical trials. At Mayo Clinic, scientists and medical researchers are investigating the causes of gliomas and other brain tumors and are aggressively developing new treatments.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, and Mayo Clinic in Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona., rank among the Best Hospitals for neurology and neurosurgery and for cancer in the U.S. News & World Report rankings. Mayo Clinic Children's Center in Rochester is ranked the No. 1 hospital in Minnesota, and the five-state region of Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin, according to U.S. News & World Report's 2023–2024 "Best Children's Hospitals" rankings. With the emphasis on collaborative care, specialists interact very closely with their colleagues across all sites.

Learn more about the expertise and rankings of Mayo Clinic departments, including Neurology and Neurosurgery.

Mayo Clinic Children's Center

Highly skilled pediatric experts diagnose and treat all types of conditions in children. As a team, we work together to find answers, set goals and develop a treatment plan tailored to your child's needs.

Learn more about the Children's Center.

Locations, travel and lodging

Mayo Clinic has major campuses in Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona; Jacksonville, Florida; and Rochester, Minnesota. The Mayo Clinic Health System has dozens of locations in several states.

For more information on visiting Mayo Clinic, choose your location below:

Costs and insurance

Mayo Clinic works with hundreds of insurance companies and is an in-network provider for millions of people.

In most cases, Mayo Clinic doesn't require a physician referral. Some insurers require referrals, or may have additional requirements for certain medical care. All appointments are prioritized on the basis of medical need.

Learn more about appointments at Mayo Clinic.

Please contact your insurance company to verify medical coverage and to obtain any needed authorization prior to your visit. Often, your insurer's customer service number is printed on the back of your insurance card.

More information about billing and insurance:

Mayo Clinic in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota

Mayo Clinic Health System

Jan. 10, 2023