Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the country, third only to cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. For less common cancers like brain cancer, however, there may not be enough awareness among Filipinos to prevent its onset, or resources to help those afflicted. 
“One common misconception is that frequent headaches must mean a brain tumor; that’s often not the case,” said Dr. Michael Louis Gimenez, resident neurosurgeon and Chairman of the Brain and Spine Institute at Cardinal Santos Medical Center (CSMC). “It’s possible, but there are a combination of symptoms that more accurately distinguish a possible brain tumor.”
According to Gimenez, symptoms of a brain tumor manifest depending on the location in the brain. That being said, some common symptoms across the board are seizures, abnormal motor control, memory or thinking issues, nausea, and vision problems.
Because of the complex nature of diagnosing and treating brain tumors, Gimenez stated that it is best done at a multidisciplinary level, which is what led CSMC to establish its Brain and Spine Tumor Center.
“We wanted to push a comprehensive, multidisciplinary and team-oriented approach to the evaluation and treatment of patients with brain and spine tumors,” he said. “When medical practitioners from different fields and disciplines work together to contribute their expertise in identifying and treating tumors, patients are able to receive consistent, timely, accurate and holistic care for their afflictions.”
At the Brain and Spine Tumor Center, patient cases are first assessed by a team of Neurologists, Neurosurgeons, and Medical Oncologists, then presented to all the team members for clinical review. Patients are informed of the team’s input soon after, allowing them to discuss their options and come to an informed decision about their diagnosis.
“This approach is beneficial not just for the team handling the case, but also for the patient as well,” Gimenez noted. “Through this streamlined process we are able to facilitate timely planning and decision-making, and the expertise and opinions coming from different disciplines can be considered.”
CSMC’s approach proves to be popular with patients, as the hospital has since seen a 600% increase in the number of patients served after its implementation.
“We believe it’s because the Brain and Spine Tumor Center is a one-stop service for patients suffering from neurological diseases,” Gimenez shared. “Patients know that they have a team of experienced, excellent and compassionate medical professionals taking care of them from the moment they step through the hospital doors and all throughout their journey.”
The Brain and Spine Tumor Center is also equipped with the latest neurosurgical equipment, a Neuro-ICU, a medical Neuro-oncology Unit, and radiotherapy facilities. It also boasts of the only Gamma Knife Radiosurgery unit in the Philippines.
This dedication to provide the best quality of medical service to its patients has since been recognized at the 2022 Asian Hospital Management Awards, where CSMC was awarded the Excellence Award in Clinical Effectiveness Improvement for its multidisciplinary approach to brain and spine tumor management.
“The CSMC Brain and Spine Tumor Center was organized to bring different medical fields together to deliver comprehensive and holistic cancer care and treatment,” Gimenez concluded. “We want our patients and potential patients to see how serious and committed we are to giving them quality medical care that they cannot get anywhere else.”
For more information about the programs and services that CSMC offers, please visit https://cardinalsantos.com.ph/. CSMC is also on Facebook, like and follow them at www.facebook.com/CardinalSantos.