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Brain tumours are generally divided into those that arise from the brain itself or those that spread there from cancers in other organs. The gliomas are the most common primary brain tumours. They can present with symptoms caused by raised pressure in the head, including headaches, nausea, vomiting, epileptic seizures and changes in mentation. CT scanning and MR scanning will usually suffice to make the diagnosis.

Surgery is usually the first step in treatment. It is necessary to obtain a piece of the tumour in order to confirm the exact diagnosis. The extent of recommended surgery, running from a simple biopsy to an attempt at a near complete removal is a multifactorial decision plan, which would be individual for every case. The exact type of tumour and its degree of malignancy will dictate what steps will be taken subsequent to surgery. Gliomas, by their very nature, cannot be removed completely.

Once a tissue diagnosis has been made and some degree of brain tumour removal has been carried out, the patients are referred to the Brain Tumour Clinic for discussion of adjuvant therapy. This maybe in the form of chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy. All patients are subsequently then followed in the Brain Tumour Clinic. As these tumours tend to recur with time, further adjuvant therapies are then planned. This may involve more surgery, more radiation or a different form of drug treatment. It is at this stage that is when a recurrence occurs, that most experimental forms of therapy are available to be tried.

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