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Saint Mary’s and Sierra Neurosurgery Group partner to apeed up time between brain cancer diagnosis and treatment



Saint Mary’s and Sierra Neurosurgery Group have partnered to create the region’s first Brain Tumor Center in an effort to speed up the time between diagnosis and treatment.

Modeled after some of the premier referral cancer centers in the country, Saint Mary’s Brain Tumor Center enables newly diagnosed patients the rare opportunity to meet with two specialists at the same time to develop an effective treatment plan. Through the Saint Mary’s Brain Tumor Center, patients with newly diagnosed malignant and benign brain tumors meet simultaneously with neurosurgeon Hilari Fleming, MD, Ph.D., as well as a radiation oncologist, either Jonathan Tay, MD, or Katie Legarza, MD.

With a brain tumor, starting treatment as soon as possible can mean the difference between life and death. Previously the time between diagnosis and treatment might be six to eight weeks. This collaboration significantly expedites the process, and patients can often begin treatment as soon as two weeks after diagnosis.

“When you are diagnosed with a brain tumor, you want to formulate your treatment plan with your physician as quickly as possible,” said Fleming. “Saint Mary’s and Sierra Neurosurgery Group have recognized the need, and this collaboration will significantly expedite the treatment process for patients.”

Located at the Saint Mary’s Center for Cancer, Saint Mary’s Brain Tumor Center gives patients the opportunity to explore all treatment options with their physicians, including the region’s only CyberKnife. A combination of robotics and computer-aided technology, CyberKnife has the ability to deliver a high-powered dose of radiation to the tumor.

“Saint Mary’s is the only facility in Nevada that has the CyberKnife, the most technologically advanced radiation delivery system available in the world,” said Tay, Medical Director of Saint Mary’s Center for Cancer. “CyberKnife is the only radiation delivery system that constantly tracks the location of the tumor. With its sub-millimeter accuracy, CyberKnife is able to spare surrounding healthy tissue from radiation damage.”

Dr. Fleming has been with Sierra Neurosurgery Group for nearly 20 years. She specializes in the treatment of tumors that impact the brain, particularly pituitary tumors. Dr. Fleming is one of just two neurosurgeons in Northern Nevada trained to treat brain tumors with the Cyberknife radiosurgery system.

Dr. Tay is the medical director of Saint Mary’s Radiation Oncology Department and for Reno CyberKnife. His specialties include prostate seed implantation, brachytherapy, intensity modulated radiotherapy and stereotactic radiosurgery.

Dr. Legarza is an active member of the Cancer Committee at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center and a core team member in the development of the Cyberknife Stereotactic Cranial and Body Radiosurgery Program. She is skilled in intensity modulated radiation therapy techniques and high dose rate brachytherapy.

For more information on the Saint Mary’s Brain Tumor Center, contact 775-770-7410 or visit http://www.saintmarystumorcenter.org.

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