Treatments for Low Grade Gliomas
One of the most difficult things to come to terms with when you are diagnosed with a low-grade brain tumour is the fact that you may be given different views by different consultants regarding when and how to treat your brain tumour.
Whilst most consultants will recommend surgery as the preferred treatment option for low-grade gliomas at point of diagnosis, it may be that the position of your tumour makes this either difficult or impossible. Other treatment options are likely to be radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy; but not always straight away if your tumour appears stable and is not affecting your quality of life to an unacceptable degree.
This difficult decision regarding when and how to treat your brain tumour depends on a number of factors including:
- the type of tumour
- the tumour size and position
- your general state of health and any effects of the tumour that you are experiencing
- the risks of treatment balanced against the benefits that you are expected to gain
If it is recommended that you "watch and wait" before undergoing treatment, it may be difficult to accept doing nothing, and many people seek a second opinion before taking this advice.
To find out how to obtain a second opinion in the UK, please click here
Being told you have a potentially cancerous tumour, but must go home and wait for it to grow more quickly before treatment can begin, can feel like a devastating blow. However, this time that you are given can be turned to good use. It gives you the chance to discover all the options available before you have to make any decisions about how you want your treatment to proceed, and gives you the breathing space to discover how you can enjoy your life to the full. Some people prefer to think of this as a "watch and live" policy, rather than "watch and wait"!
Our online support groups offer a wealth of information about treatments, as well as support for patients and carers at any point of their brain tumour journey. Below are some personal pieces of advice from group members which we hope will help, but you are welcome to join us and ask any questions that you may have, including which consultants have a specialist interest in low-grade gliomas both in the UK and America. Our groups can be found at http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/gliomasupport and http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/braintumourcarerssupport. The second support group is specifically aimed at carers.
Astro Brain Tumour Fund is supporting research into the Ketogenic Diet as a potential adjunct treatment for brain tumours that can be used alongside standard treatments currently available in the UK. For further details on this exciting venture, See the News section.
Headsmart Campaign - Be Brain Tumour Aware
Each week in the UK, around ten children or teenagers are diagnosed with a brain tumour. From the appearance of their first symptoms, half of these children will be diagnosed within 12-13 weeks (median). For the other half diagnosis takes longer, sometimes up to a year or two. In comparison, similar figures in other countries show that half the cases are diagnosed in as little as 5 weeks.
The aim of the HeadSmart campaign is to reduce the time it takes to diagnose children and young people with brain tumours in the UK by educating healthcare professionals and the public about the symptoms of brain tumours in this age group. Reducing the time to diagnosis should reduce the long term disability that many children and young people diagnosed with a brain tumour currently experience.
For specific information about treatments for Ependymomas, you may like to visit the website of the American based CERN Foundation (Collaborative Ependymoma Research Network).
For a number of articles about brain tumours and their treatment, you could also visit Docs by Docs Brain Tumor Board website.
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