Advanced care for brain cancer and tumors

If you have been diagnosed with a brain tumor, it is normal to be afraid, anxious and overwhelmed. When you are in our care, you can trust that you are in capable hands with experienced neurosurgeons who are among the best in the country.

Johnston-Willis offers the expertise that comes with being recognized as an Accredited Brain Tumor Program and is the only hospital in central Virginia—and one of only two hospitals in the state of Virginia—offering treatment using the Gamma Knife® Icon, an innovative, minimally invasive stereotactic radiosurgery tool for brain tumors and other brain disorders.

We also offer private rooms to enhance your comfort, a dedicated neuroscience intensive care unit (neuro ICU), a variety of support services and personalized care throughout your journey to recovery.

Certified Brain Tumor Program in central Virginia

Johnston-Willis Hospital was the first and is one of only three hospitals in the U.S. to receive The Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval for brain tumor care—and we are the only hospital in Virginia with this distinction.

We provide comprehensive care for brain tumors, from diagnosis through treatment and recovery, and Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at Johnston-Willis Hospital ensures patients with cancerous brain tumors receive the best cancer treatment and resources available.

For more information about our brain tumor program, please call (804) 320-3627.

Cancerous brain tumors

Not all brain tumors are malignant (cancerous). When a tumor is identified as malignant, Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at Johnston-Willis Hospital provides comprehensive cancer care. We are available to assist you and your family through diagnosis, treatment, recovery and follow-up care of cancerous brain tumors.

Our experienced, full-service team works together to provide the highest level of care to patients undergoing brain cancer treatment.

Brain cancer care at Johnston-Willis includes:

  • A variety of cancer treatment options
  • Collaboration with neurology and neurosurgery for expedited care
  • Infusion services with chemotherapy-certified nurses
  • Support services, including nurse navigators and counseling
  • Access to clinical trials
  • American Cancer Society Cancer Resource Center
  • The Hawthorne Cancer Resource Center (educational materials and a resource library)

Read more in the Richmond Times-Dispatch about how Johnston-Willis Hospital is helping patients with brain cancer.

Brain tumors and disorders we treat

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 the following brain tumor conditions:

  • Malignant (cancerous) tumors
  • Benign (noncancerous) tumors
  • Rare, unusual and skull-based lesions
  • Cerebrovascular disorders
  • Spine and nerve disorders

Brain tumor symptoms

Brain tumors do not have preventive screening methods. Patients typically experience symptoms that lead them to visit a doctor. Cancerous and noncancerous brain tumor symptoms depend largely on the tumor's location, its size and how fast it grows.

doctor discussing brain tumor with patient

General warning signs of a brain tumor include:

  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Nausea and/or 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 and treatment

After visiting your doctor with signs of a brain tumor, your doctor may order tests, like imaging studies and a biopsy, to confirm your diagnosis.

At Johnston-Willis, you will receive individualized brain tumor treatment from our multispecialty team of neurologists and neurosurgeons at our Neuroscience and Gamma Knife Center.

The type of brain tumor you have, as well as your health, will determine which brain tumor treatment is best for you. We offer a number of treatment options, including:

  • Surgery, including minimally invasive endoscopic surgery
  • Gamma Knife® stereotactic radiosurgery (a 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

Comprehensive brain tumor support

The more you know, the better your outcome can be. That is why we integrate education and support throughout our brain tumor care program, including:

Denise Laine

Our brain tumor nurse navigator helps you navigate your diagnosis and treatment, ensuring you feel supported throughout your journey.

Denise Laine, BSN, RN
Neuroscience nurse navigator
Phone: (804) 483-5711

Denise provides insight and guidance through the cancer care process, including surgical referrals, treatment plans, resources and education. In addition to serving as the nurse navigator for brain tumors and brain cancer, Denise has experience as an HCA breast cancer nurse navigator and in clinical management at Chippenham and Johnston-Willis Hospitals' infusion center.

About Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute

Johnston-Willis Hospital is part of Sarah Cannon, the Cancer Institute of HCA Healthcare. Our family of hospitals provides comprehensive cancer services with convenient access to cutting-edge therapies for people facing cancer in our communities. From diagnosis, to treatment and survivorship care, our oncology expertise ensures you have access to locally-trusted care with the support of a globally-recognized network.

askSARAH helpline

Have cancer questions? We can help. askSARAH is a dedicated helpline for your cancer-related questions. Our specially-trained nurses are available 24/7 and all calls are confidential. Contact askSARAH at (804) 591-4152 or chat online at