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17

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.

Imaging tests

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

should be.

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

you relax.

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

MRI (

m

agnetic

r

esonance

i

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

bit warm.

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

early.

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.

2

Test and treatment overview

Imaging tests