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Treating unspecified gliomas

Normally, further testing would be performed so a more specific diagnosis can be made before treatment begins.

The World Health Organization (WHO) discourages the diagnosis of tumours as unspecified gliomas, mixed gliomas or even oligoastrocytomas because they are too vague and unhelpful in finding the right treatment. 

There are a number of genetic marker tests (to test for IDH mutation and 1p/19q codeletion) which could determine whether a tumour is more likely an:

  • astrocytoma
  • oligodendroglioma
  • ependymoma. 

Once the tests are complete, you will usually receive the standard treatment for that type of tumour.

If a more specific diagnosis isn't possible, your treatment will usually be based on how your tumour appears on scans and whether it closely resembles any other type of brain tumour.

For example, if the tumour seems to be diffuse, which means it stretches into surrounding healthy tissue in a tentacle-type way, your team may want to treat the tumour with the maximum doses of chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy. If the tumour has well defined borders and seems not to be showing signs of growth, your team may choose to take a less aggressive treatment approach.

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