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Health Spotlight: Groundbreaking treatment plan for brain cancer

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Cancer that metastasizes to the brain can be one of the most difficult to fight, leading doctors to constantly incorporate new tools to beat this deadly foe.

Dorothy Barber was diagnosed with bowel cancer that spread into 19 lymph nodes.

Her treatment consisted of surgery, chemo, and immunotherapy for 14 months until Barber’s doctors discovered a grape-sized adenocarcinoma in the brain, located near the cerebellum and spinal cord.

Dr. Jon McIver, a neurosurgeon with the Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, utilized a stealth navigation system to make a neurological map out of the tumor before performing surgery.

In surgery, a small incision was made, which would allow McIver to travel through the brain. “We can travel, separating pathways until we (are able to) find the tumor,” McIver said.

Once Barber’s tumor was removed, it was determined that it was the same cancer from her bowel.

McIver says that pairing neuro-mapping and surgery with immunotherapy can be groundbreaking in cancer treatment, as it primes the immune system to recognize the tumor as a foreign object.

This story was created from a script aired on WISH-TV. Health Spotlight is presented by Community Health Network.