Scientists conducted a study and found the alternate way to monitor a brain tumor, and suggest that this way could be the best so far. The study is a work of a large scale collaboration of the UK experts along with stakeholders who came together to discuss the value of imaging patients’ brain tumor on routine basis, to assess treatment response, also known as ‘interval imaging’. Results of this study have been published in a freely-accessible journal – Frontiers in Oncology. The journal reports that there is minimal evidence to support the studied practice, currently. However, researchers are determined that future research could give hope and maximize the importance of interval imaging. This could be possible by assessing cost effectiveness of the treatment, and how it affects quality of life of the patients, treatment success rate and survival rate.
At present, healthcare providers are using brain scans at predetermined times in order to assess patient’s response to treatment; however, scanning frequency may range from once in few weeks to once in a few months. Approaches may differ from countries and hospitals, but scientists are focusing on finding the best approach and that are any of these treatments based on scientific research. The agenda is to get things right and for that not scanning the patient enough for tumor could be risky if doctors miss on the signs if in case the patient needs further treatment. On the contrary, it is rather inconvenient and impractical to scan excessively for patients as well as medical staff. It can also cause anxiety in the individuals, especially if the scan results are unclear. Similarly, in 2019, a group of experts discussed about the issue in London, UK, which included people from diverse streams with similar interests such as neuro-oncologists, neuro-radiologists, neuro-surgeons, neuro-psychologists, health economists, clinical trialists, data scientists, imaging sector, and charity representatives. Findings by these experts have been presented in the recent Position Statement. Experts found that evidence for interval imaging currently being practiced in UK had little evidence and is nothing more than just a considered opinion. Further, the group brainstormed on how they can determine value of the tests, and its effect on patient’s life.
Moreover, scanning is expensive, and with limited investments, the healthcare sector needs to utilize resources cost effectively. Interval imaging mostly aims to identify increase in tumor size; however, growth of tumors differ from patient to patient, which makes it challenging to draw concrete and substantial conclusions from scanning results. The complexity of the treatment and tumor relative rarity mean that solutions that are beyond traditional and random controllable trials is the only solution to obtain required evidence, as per experts. In addition, experts have proposed a wide range of incremental solutions in research sector. These include statistical and economic analyses, conduction of surveys among patients to measure their attitudes, quality of life, and responses while undergoing process of interval imaging. The proposed solutions also include machine learning methods by healthcare providers, to obtain highly accurate predictions regarding value of interval-imaging from large amount of datasets. Experts concluded, future-targeted researches are a key to assess and maximize interval imaging potential.