Beating Brain Cancer

At the age of 17, you’re looking to the future. You imagine yourself in college, at a new job or in a new town. You look ahead and see nothing but potential. Then one day, you wake up and your whole perspective changes.

It happened to Travis Weir. In his late teens, he woke up one morning and couldn’t see. An MRI revealed a brain tumor. The very next day, he had surgery to remove the tumor. A short time later, tests revealed it had grown back and Dr. Scott Shapiro, a neurosurgeon with IU Health Neuroscience, brought Travis to IU Health Methodist Hospital for a second neurosurgery.

Travis beat brain cancer for a second time and moved on with his life. Six years later, while living in Germany, the cancer returned. The tumor was once again growing in his brain.

Travis turned to the same doctor who helped him beat cancer as a teenager. Now, equipped with the most sophisticated brain scanning technology available, Dr. Shapiro was able to get a detailed look at Travis’ tumor so he could perform a more effective surgery. An intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging scanner, or IMRIS, uses the same magnetic and radio waves to create digital images of the body as a traditional MRI. But the IMRIS is anything but conventional. It’s a revolutionary technology that provides real-time images during surgery. This means neurosurgeons can take detailed images while in the operating room, allowing them to safely remove more of a tumor and reduce the need for a follow-up surgery. And since the IMRIS sits on rails, doctors can bring the IMRIS to the patient, instead of the other way around. This advanced technology is available at few facilities in the nation—and is the only one of its kind in Indiana.

With his advanced expertise and the assistance of the IMRIS, Dr. Shapiro safely removed Travis’ tumor, and this time, he was able to verify he had gotten it all. Today, Travis is living an active and healthy life.

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