NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Brain Cancer – Gliomas, Version 1.2016
Part 2 briefly describes the tests and
treatments used for gliomas. This
information may help you understand your
options. Options are listed for each type of
glioma in Parts 3 through 5.
Your doctor will want you to get an imaging test if
you have symptoms of glioma. Imaging tests make
pictures (images) of the insides of your body. They
can show which sites in your nervous system might
have cancer. Certain imaging tests also reveal some
features of a tumor and its cells.
A radiologist is a doctor who’s an expert in reading
images. A neuroradiologist is an expert in images
of the nervous system. Your radiologist will convey
the imaging results to your doctor. This information
helps your doctor decide what the next steps of care
You will be told how to prepare for an imaging test.
You may need to stop taking some medicines and
stop eating and drinking for a few hours before the
scan. Tell your doctors if you get nervous when in
small spaces. You may be given a sedative to help
Some imaging tests use contrast. Contrast is a
dye that will be injected into your vein. It makes
the pictures clearer. Some people have an allergic
reaction to the dye. Tell your doctor if you’ve had
problems with contrast in the past.
Brain and spinal MRI
maging) is an imaging
test that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to
make pictures. For a brain MRI, a device will be
placed around your head that sends and receives
radio waves. For spinal MRI, no device is worn.
Images will be made with and without contrast.
It’s important to lie still during the test. Thus, straps
may be used to help you stay in place. You may be
given a sedative beforehand if you feel nervous.
During MRI, you will be inside the MRI machine. An
open MRI scanner may be an option at some health
centers. The machine makes loud noises but you
can wear earplugs. After an MRI, you will be able to
resume your activities right away unless you took a
sedative. A brain MRI may cause your head to feel a
MRI is used at multiple points of care for gliomas. It
should be done if your doctor thinks you may have
a brain or spinal tumor. It is also used to assess the
results of treatment. Once treatment is done, MRIs
are repeated over time to find any new tumor growth
MR spectroscopy | MR perfusion
These imaging tests may be used if the MRI is
unclear. MR perfusion is a special type of MRI that
measures blood flow in tumors. It requires that you
be injected with a dye. MR spectroscopy uses both
MRI and a series of tests to assess the chemical
make-up of tumors and normal tissue.
Test and treatment overview