The Mayo Clinic Brain Tumor Program offers personalized, comprehensive, expert care to people with brain tumors. If you have a serious, complex or rare brain tumor, you'll find exactly the care you need here. Brain tumors include glioma, meningioma, pituitary tumors, skull base tumors or brain metastases. The program brings together an experienced team that uses innovative technologies to achieve the best outcome possible for you.

See full overview

Alyx Porter, M.D.: Pioneering innovative approaches to neuro-oncology and patient advocacy

Alyx Porter, M.D.: I am inspired every single day. Every single day there is a patient that humbles me so much. When you get a diagnosis of brain cancer, the fact that they even have to meet someone like me, or they see that they’re visiting with a neuro-oncologist, it is the scariest time. So, I use the gifts that I think that I’ve been given to try to put them at ease. I want people to experience the very best care that they can in an environment where they feel like they can trust and belong. Because if you are not able to connect with the person in a way that gets them to open up about what their concerns are, you’ve failed. Sometimes people ask me, how can you sit across from people and have hard conversations? But the truth is, how can I not? I believe that I’m doing exactly what I was built for.

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.