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Customized care for complex tumors; Brain and Spine Tumor Board for specialized care close to home

Customized care for complex tumors; Brain and Spine Tumor Board for specialized care close to home
The treatment of brain, spine and skull base tumors is intricate and complex. Deciding what next steps to take can be overwhelming, especially after receiving a tumor diagnosis. But personalized care options tailored to individual patients can make those decisions easier.

Three years ago, an MRI diagnosed Karen Pendlay with a tumor on the right frontotemporal lobe of her brain. After this diagnosis, she was referred to Carle Health for specialized care with the Carle Brain and Spine Tumor program, Urbana IL. While the diagnosis of a brain tumor made her nervous about treatment, the Carle Health team helped assure her she was in the right place to receive care.

“I was scared for about five seconds, and then I thought this is going to be okay. It’s going to be alright,” said Karen Pendlay.

The Carle Brain and Spine Tumor Program at the Carle Neuroscience Institute in Urbana is made up of a multidisciplinary team of providers from several clinical specialties. This team of experts creates custom treatment plans for patients with complex tumors in the brain, spine and skull base. Because each physician on the board is focused on a different aspect of a patient's health, areas of need can be quickly identified and managed effectively.

Because the multidisciplinary team is located in Urbana, Pendlay had access to the latest technology and advanced surgical treatments close to home and did not need to travel out of the area to receive specialized care

“Karen had a benign tumor which is a common tumor called meningioma,” said Wael Mostafa, MD and head of the Carle Brain Tumor Program. “So, we watched the tumor over a few years and her symptoms were getting worse, and the imaging showed interval slow growth for that tumor. So, at that time, we discussed with her the management options, including surgical intervention and radiation therapy, and she opted to proceed with surgical intervention.”

In December of 2023, Dr. Mostafa surgically removed Pendlay’s tumor with a right frontotemporal craniotomy. After a three-day stay at the hospital, Pendlay was back on her feet and feeling great. “I had surgery two months ago to get the tumor out and I’m on a 40-hour work week and have been for two weeks,” said Pendlay. “I can do everything everybody else does.”

Pendlay’s family was shocked by her impressively speedy recovery. Her mother was prepared to care for her after the surgery, but Pendlay was up and moving and even playing checkers with her on her first day home from the hospital.

“She had a great result and now we’re watching with serial scans and there is no tumor recurrence so far, and she is doing wonderfully,” said Dr. Mostafa.

“I can’t thank Carle Hospital enough for what they have done for me,” said Pendlay. “And I just want the world to know that you guys [Carle Health] are there waiting in the sidelines. They’re there to help and they can change your life.”

See Karen Pendlay and Dr. Mostafa speak about her experience with the Carle Brain and Spine Tumor Program with this video.

For more information about the Brain and Spine Tumor Board program, visit

Categories: Redefining Healthcare

Tags: Base, Brain, Institute, Neurology, Neuroscience, Program, Skull, Spine, Treatment, Tumor