Meet Michelle

Meet Michelle, a brain tumor survivor who received treatment at Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at Johnston-Willis Hospital.

Read her story.

See her video.


Your Choice for Brain Tumor Care

If you have been diagnosed with a brain tumor, it's normal to be afraid, anxious and overwhelmed. When you choose Johnston-Willis Hospital, you're getting the experience and compassion you're looking for.

Johnston-Willis Hospital was the first and only one of two hospitals in the United States to receive The Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval for brain tumor care. We’re also the only hospital in Virginia to carry this distinction. In receiving this certification, we’re dedicated to maintaining the highest level of quality care for our patients. We care about getting you healthy and back to everyday life. We also are the only hospital in Central Virginia and one of two hospitals in Virginia offering the latest innovation in the treatment of brain tumors and other brain disorders -Gamma Knife® Icon, a minimally invasive stereotactic radiosurgery tool.

Read how Johnston-Willis Hospital is helping patients with brain cancer.

Because of our expertise treating brain tumors, patients and their families come from all over for treatment of brain and nervous system conditions. We treat malignant (cancerous) and benign (noncancerous) tumors, as well as rare, unusual and skull-based lesions, cerebrovascular disorders, and spine and nerve disorders. When you're with us, you can trust that you are in capable hands with experienced neurosurgeons who are among the very best in the country.

With private rooms to enhance a peaceful recovery and personalized care provided by our experienced health care team, you'll find everything you need right here.

Complete Brain Tumor Support

The more you know, the better your outcome can be. That's why we integrate education and support throughout our program of care. You benefit from our broad range of services, including:

  • A brain tumor nurse navigator to assist with your care.
  • The Hawthorne Cancer Resource Center, which provides educational materials and a resource library.
  • Rehabilitation services to help you improve your quality of life.
  • Support groups to guide you from diagnosis through treatment, recovery and life after a brain tumor.

Brain Tumor Symptoms

Brain tumors do not have preventive screening methods. Patients typically experience symptoms that lead them to visit their doctor.

Brain tumor symptoms depend largely on the tumor's location, its size and how fast it's growing. General symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Blurred, double or loss of vision
  • Increased fatigue and/or sleepiness
  • Difficulty maintaining balance

If the tumor is pressing on or growing into nearby brain tissue, certain functions may be affected such as:

  • Comprehension and/or expression of language
  • Memory, sensation and processing of sensory input
  • Personality or behavior (lacking emotion or impulsiveness)
  • Ability to do learned movements or gestures
  • Ability to process information
  • Coordination and walking
  • Ability to control the bladder or bowel
  • Muscle strength or sensation in one or more parts of the body

Brain Tumor Diagnosis

Because of their symptoms, brain tumors are diagnosed after a patient sees his or her doctor. Your doctor may order tests, such as imaging studies (MRI, CT scan and/or PET scans) and a biopsy.


At Johnston-Willis, you'll receive individualized brain tumor treatment from our multispecialty team made up of neurologists and neurosurgeons at our Neuroscience and Gamma Knife Center. This integrated approach allows your team of providers to give you the best comprehensive approach to care.

Throughout your journey, you'll work with your health care team at Johnston-Willis to determine the best method of treatment for you. We offer a number of treatment options including:

  • Surgery
  • Endoscopy (a minimally invasive approach)
  • Gamma Knife® stereotactic radiosurgery (a minimally invasive and painless procedure that involves no incisions, no cutting or shaving of hair, and a short recovery time)
  • Trilogy stereotactic targeted radiation therapy (uses radiation in numerous sessions to destroy tumor cells)
  • Chemotherapy

Cancerous Brain Tumors

At the Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at Johnston-Willis Hospital, we're available to assist you and your family through diagnosis, treatment, recovery and follow-up of cancerous brain tumors.

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Our experienced, comprehensive team of oncologists, neurosurgeons and neurologists works together to provide the highest level of care to patients undergoing brain cancer treatment.

Brain cancer care at Johnston-Willis Hospital includes:

  • Multidisciplinary team approach to care
  • Dedicated neuro intensive care unit (neuro-ICU)
  • Collaboration with neurology and neurosurgery for expedited care
  • Infusion services with chemotherapy-certified nurses
  • Radiation therapy services
  • Gamma Knife, available only at Johnston-Willis Hospital in the greater Richmond area, is a minimally invasive stereotactic radiosurgery tool that uses extremely precise cobalt radiation beams to target and destroy tumors and diseased tissue, sparing the surrounding healthy tissue unnecessary radiation.
  • Ongoing support with our social workers and weekly support groups
  • Supportive care counseling
  • Access to clinical trials
  • American Cancer Society Cancer Resource Center

Neuroscience Nurse Navigator

If you need further testing or high-risk counseling, your dedicated Neuroscience nurse navigator will guide you along the way. The nurse navigator coordinates the scheduling services of our team and will work closely with you and your doctors so you'll know your options and receive the treatment, care, education, and support you need.

Denise Laine, BSN, RN
Neuroscience Nurse Navigator
Phone: (804) 483-5711