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Diagnosis and treatment for haemangioblastoma

To diagnose a haemangiolastoma, doctors usually get a family history to check if the tumour is linked to a genetic condition (Hippel-Lindau) and also do MRI and CT scans. In some cases, an angiography may be done to identify how blood vessels are involved.

In terms of treatment, if the tumour shows little or no growth, presents minimal side-effects and does not present a threat to surrounding structures, a patient may be put on 'watch and wait'. This means that the patient will have scans every few months without having treatment. Specialists use this approach when they think that the benefits of not starting treatment outweigh the risks. If at some point the tumour begins to grow doctors will start treatment.

Surgery and radiotherapy

Treatment for haemangioblastoma usually involves surgery to remove the tumour and gamma knife radiation. Surgery may be a two stage process, first to cut the blood flow to the tumour by severing associated blodd vessels and then removing the tumour. A recent study has shown that the ability to stop blood flow to these tumours has a lot to do with how successful the outcomes of the surgery will be.

Chemotherapy

Due to the recurrence of haemangioblastomas associated with the Hippel-Lindau condition, chemotherapy may also be considered along with the treatment methods already mentioned.

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