About The Bristol Neuro-Oncology Group

Bristol is one of UK's leading treatment centres for brain tumours. The brain tumour treatment team consists of highly experienced doctors, and other health care professionals who care for more than 600 adults and children with gliomas and other brain and nervous system tumours each year. Specialists from neurology, neurosurgery, radiology, neuropathology, radiation therapy, clinical oncology, psychology and brain rehabilitation work together to deliver the most appropriate treatment for each patient diagnosed with a tumour. Bristol Neuro-Oncology services treat a population of over 3 million adults and 5 million children.

Most common referral method 

The most common method of referral is from a secondary care centre to the Neurosurgical unit at Southmead Hospital Bristol, which is part of the North Bristol NHS Trust. Referrals are accepted from anywhere within the country, but the majority come from Bristol (North Bristol NHS Trust, University Hospitals Bristol Foundation Trust), Weston (Weston General Hospital), Taunton (Musgrove Park Hospital), Yeovil (Yeovil District General Hospital), Bath (Royal United Hospital), Cheltenham and Gloucester (Cheltenham General and Gloucester Royal Hospitals).  

Diagnosis and treatment

Diagnosis and treatment for brain tumours takes place within the recommended NICE guideline of 4 weeks from diagnosis to treatment, and in many cases from referral to treatment. The patient usually presents to the acute medical or emergency service at a secondary care centre (District General Hospital) where initial radiological investigation (CT or MRI scan) picks up a brain or spine abnormality suspicious for a tumour. A referral is then made by the secondary care centre to the Neuro-Oncology MDT (Multi disciplinary team) meeting at North Bristol Trust, where after a discussion of the relevant clinical details, the patient is seen in a Neurosurgical or Oncological clinic to discuss treatment options. Surgery is carried out at North Bristol NHS Trust with further treatment such as radiotherapy or chemotherapy, if required, will take place at the nearest local hospital. Making a referral has now been streamlined into a single step electronic process, and can be made from any NHS computer through this website. (Making a referral). We also accept referrals from outside the NHS - Please follow directions on Making a referral. Primary care physicians are welcome to refer patients directly to the Neuro-Oncology MDT, provided an imaging investigation like a CT or MRI scan has picked up an abnormality suspicious of a central nervous system neoplasm.

Incidence of new central nervous system cancers

In the UK traditionally the incidence of new central nervous system cancers in adults has been reported to be around 7 - 10 per 100,000 population, based on 2006 data. This equates to roughly around 4000 - 5000 new cases every year. The vision 2012 paper suggests that the true incidence might be around 15 - 20 per 100,000, as it has recently been recognised that brain tumours are grossly under reported.

About The Bristol Neuro-Oncology Group