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PostPosted: 08 Oct 2018 21:25 
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A chemical dye, which can assist neurosurgeons in the successful removal of a brain tumour, should be used in initial surgery, NICE has said. In final published guidance, it is recommended patients take 5-amino levulinic acid (5-ALA) - known as the pink drink – prior to surgery.

As a result tumour cells glow pink under ultra violet light allowing a surgeon using a fluorescence-detecting microscope to better identify which areas of the brain are cancerous and which are healthy.

Tom Roques, a consultant clinical oncologist at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and chair of the NICE committee, said: "People with brain tumours will see great benefits when these NICE guidelines are implemented.

“Going through cancer treatment is a very difficult time in a person’s life and we want patients to have the highest quality care possible.

“The roll out of 5-ALA will see more patients treated to a gold standard level of care and will help delay the recurrence of brain tumours.”

Professor Mark Baker, director for the centre of guidelines at NICE said: “The evidence examined by the committee shows using 5-ALA will improve tumour removal.

“This guidance and the roll out of 5-ALA – which we hope to see implemented in a timely manner at those units who don’t currently have access to it – will greatly improve patient experience.”

Cally Palmer, NHS England's national cancer director, said: "NHS England is firmly committed to making 5-ALA universally available for all eligible patients in neuroscience centres across the country.

An estimated 11,000 people are diagnosed with a brain tumour each year in the UK.

Symptoms of brain tumours are varied but could include headaches, changes in vision, seizures, nausea, drowsiness or impairment of normal brain function.

The new NICE guideline makes recommendations about diagnosis, monitoring and treatment as well as the information and support that should be offered to patients.

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