Understanding neuro-oncology

Neuro-oncology is a specialised cancer field focusing on brain and spine (backbone) tumours.

To understand brain and/or spine tumours, it is important to know these tumours can affect your central nervous system. The brain and spine are the two main parts of your central nervous system. These two must talk to each other for your body to work.

The spine is a long set of bones (vertebrae) that are linked together from the base of your brain down to your lower back (tailbone). It is also made up of muscle, tissue and ligaments.

Inside this linked set of bones, there is also a spinal cord. This cord contains many nerves that carry messages to and from the brain to the rest of the body. These messages help control how we operate our:

  • movement
  • feeling or sensation
  • breathing
  • bladder and bowel function.

The spine acts to:

  • provide physical support for the body
  • helps with movement such as twisting and bending
  • send messages from the brain to the body and back again.

Focusing on you

Putting you at the centre of everything we do, we focus on understanding your individual condition. To do this, your Peter Mac doctor will find out where your tumour is and where it started (what type of cell) and if it is benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

Enhancing your care

At Peter Mac, we provide the most up-to-date diagnostics (tests) and treatment for brain and spine tumours.

Our brain and spine tumour specialists will come together and work together with you to assess your tumour and plan and deliver the most effective treatment for your condition.

Your care plan will be custom-made to treat your specific tumour and the needs most important to you.


We know how hard cancer and treatment can be. Your lifestyle and that of your loved one's will be disrupted and changed. During this time, it is common to struggle with ongoing concerns about cancer and therapy. There are many expert groups available to provide more information and support you through this time, including:


At Peter Mac, we focus on all aspects of your health and wellbeing. Our neuro-ongology experts will help support and guide you to the best information and managed care.

Our specialist nurses can refer you to our:


For more information about brain and spinal cord cancers, their treatment and the support available for patients and their families, download these fact sheets: 


Your needs come first, so we offer expert care across a number of different Neuro-oncology diseases including:

Brain stem glioma
Skull base tumour
Spinal meningioma
Spinal metastases
Spinal neurofibroma