Patient Care at the Neuro-Oncology Clinic


Doctor and patient with face masks sitting at computer looking at MRI brain images

Being told you have a brain or spine tumor can be shocking and overwhelming. As you find yourself facing complex decisions about treatment options, self-care, and supportive resources, we offer a comprehensive care approach in collaboration with your doctors back home.

At the NCI Center for Cancer Research's Neuro-Oncology Branch (NOB), we have over 20 years of experience working with patients and their primary oncologists across the globe to offer a comprehensive care plan. We provide consultations free-of-charge for patients who are newly diagnosed with a primary brain or spine tumor, those seeking a second opinion on their diagnosis or treatment, or those who have recurrent tumors. Patients can also visit us if they do not have a formal brain or spine tumor diagnosis but have recent imaging suggesting a primary brain or spine tumor.

To make an appointment, have your treating health care provider contact us first at or call 1-866-251-9686 or 240-760-6010 (Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET). 

A Multidisciplinary Approach to Care

Consultations with branch providers at the Neuro-Oncology Clinic in Bethesda, Maryland include our neuro-oncology physicians, nurse practitioners, research nurses, and social workers. While the NIH does not cover expenses for medical services at other facilities, tests and treatments at the NIH are free-of-charge after a patient is accepted on clinical study.

Our multidisciplinary approach allows us to help patients and their families deal with the physical and emotional aspects of a primary brain or spine tumor diagnosis. This includes providing resources to help them cope and understand their treatment options. We also work closely with our colleagues in neurosurgery, radiation oncology, and radiology—in addition to the patient’s primary doctor—to provide personalized, expert care.

  • Pathology: We use tumor tissue to precisely diagnose a patient's tumor type, which helps us determine clinical trial eligibility and make accurate treatment decisions for your specific tumor to maximize clinical outcomes.
  • Imaging: We use the latest imaging techniques to give a detailed understanding of the potential for tumor growth and response to treatment. This helps our clinical team more accurately detect small but potentially significant changes in a tumor.
  • Surgery: We remove as much tumor as safely possible without damaging healthy tissue using state-of-the-art surgical techniques and extensive pre-surgical planning.
  • Radiation: We use cutting-edge radiation therapy technologies that intensely focus energy to target the tumor while minimizing the radiation delivered to normal brain or spine tissue.

Clinical Studies

In addition to a general consultation or second opinion, patients have the opportunity to participate in one of our many clinical studies. We typically have between five and ten active clinical studies for primary brain or spine tumors, ranging from observational studies and symptom management to testing new drugs and tumor-focused interventions.

If the patient decides to participate in a clinical study, they will visit the NIH for consultations, follow-up, and imaging as needed free-of-charge. Much of their direct care will be transferred to our physicians and nurses for the duration of the study, although the patient will continue to be closely monitored by their referring or primary physician in collaboration with our clinical team.

Explore Our Clinical Studies >


Special Update: Due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), our normal process for scheduling an appointment has changed. At this time, we are not accepting self-referrals. Your treating health care provider should contact us first to discuss the best options for your care. Your care and safety remain our top priority. We have options to provide general guidance about your case to your health care provider once we speak to them. We can decide along with your health care provider the optimal timing of your visit to NIH. 

We provide care for people with primary brain and spine tumors at various stages of their disease, including:

  • Patients who are newly diagnosed or have a recurrence and need to make a treatment decision
  • Patients interested in a second opinion on follow-up care
  • Patients looking to improving their own care and the care of future patients

After your treating health care provider contacts us, our patient care coordinators will follow up with them. In summary, to make an appointment or refer a patient, the treating health care provider needs to contact us at or call 1-866-251-9686 or 240-760-6010 (Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET). We cannot accept international patients at this time. 

The Neuro-Oncology Clinic is located on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland on the thirteenth floor of the NIH Clinical Center (Building 10). View the NIH Clinical Center website for information on transportation, patient services, places to stay, and how to get around the hospital.


A brain or spine tumor diagnosis can impact all aspects of your life. Physical, cognitive, or memory changes can be caused by the tumor, and removal of the tumor or treatment can affect your quality of life. This can be challenging for you and your loved ones, and you will face unique challenges in each stage of your cancer journey. To help you cope and remain informed, explore the recommended resources below.

Neuro-Oncology Branch Resources

Other Resources

  • NIH Wellness Toolkit: Receive guidance to help improve your health needs. Learn how to manage your surroundings, feelings, body, relationships and health.
  • NCI Coping with Cancer: Learn how to manage new feelings and emotions; adjust to your cancer diagnosis; cope with body changes and issues related to sexuality; and transition to a new normal.
  • Brain and Spine Tumor Organizations: Find support and connect with others impacted by a brain or spinal cord tumor.
  • Brain and Spine Tumor Patient and Support Resources: Explore services to help you find the right clinical trial or treatment center, advocate for yourself or a loved one, and connect with others.
  • NCI Brain and Spine Tumor Information: Learn more about the many different brain and spinal cord tumor types and how they are treated. Find information about brain cancer statistics, research, and clinical trials.
  • NCI Did you Know? Watch this video to learn about the different types of brain and other nervous system cancers in children and adults, as well as risk factors, symptoms, and survival trends.

Updated: September 26, 2022