Gliomas are primary brain tumours that arise within the cells of the brain. These tumours can have various levels of aggressive behaviour. Depending on the characteristics of the cells, gliomas can have either a low-grade or high-grade classification. The glioma classification definition depends on the rate at which they grow. It also dictates the options of treatment and the outcome for the patient.
The signs and symptoms of any glial tumour depend on a few factors. These include:
- the location of the tumour
- how fast it’s growing
- the size of the tumour
- whether it is causing any obstruction to the fluid circulation in the brain
Generally, vast majority of glioma brain tumours present with headache. Other symptoms include a change in behaviour, seizures, visual disturbances or a difficulty in speech or use of language.
The diagnosis of a brain tumour usually involves performing a detailed neurological examination. It is important to understand that not all headaches are suggestive of a brain tumour. Patients should avoid making self-diagnosis.
The goal standard test for diagnosing gliomas is to perform an MRI scan with the dedicated tumour protocol. This involves a microscopic evaluation of biopsied abnormal brain tissue. A general practitioner or your treating specialist will organise this.
Following a definitive diagnosis of a glioma tumour the patient does need an operative intervention. The options for surgery depend on the location, size and complexity of the tumour.
The treatment option to remove the tumour are to perform a stereotactic biopsy, or partial or open surgery.
Should I be concerned if I am having headaches?
While a headache is a common symptom, only a small proportion of headaches are suggestive of brain tumours. It is important not to self-diagnose symptoms. If you are concerned, seek assistance from your general practitioner who can provide you with a proper medical opinion.
What tests diagnose and confirm a brain tumour?
The goal standard test that provides the most information to make a diagnosis is a specific protocol of MRI scan. To understand the specific characteristics of the brain tumour, it is necessary to test the abnormal brain tissue. A pathologist will test the tissue under a microscope.
Will I need more treatment after having brain surgery?
There may be further treatment requirements after surgery. This can include chemotherapy or radiotherapy or a combination of both. The results of the pathology tests will inform the next course of action. We will discuss further treatment with you and will organise the involvement of an oncology specialist if needed.
Are brain operations safe?
Any operation on the brain is a major surgery. The team at Neuroaxis have extensive experience to provide you with access to the best possible care. We use state of the art technology to ensure that the operation is carried out in the safest manner.
The current standard of treatment for this, would at least, include the use of a surgical navigation system. This allows us to accurately locate the tumour during surgery. The technology minimises the chance of any damage to normal brain tissue.
Will I have access to the latest treatment modalities and the possibility to enrol in clinical trials?
Once we have a definitive pathological diagnosis, we will discuss the next steps with a neuro-oncology specialist. Depending on the specifics of your case, we may set up a multiple-disciplinary meeting with you to discuss your condition.
The adjuvant treatment options are usually based on currently available evidence-based medical practices. Your oncology specialist will discuss the option of an enrolment into a clinical trial if indicated.
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