Optimal timeframes & summary

Evidence-based guidelines, where they exist, should inform timeframes. Treatment teams need to recognise that shorter timeframes for appropriate consultations and treatment can promote a better experience for patients. Three steps in the pathway specify timeframes for care. They are designed to help patients understand the timeframes in which they can expect to be assessed and treated, and to help health services plan care delivery in accordance with expert-informed time parameters to meet the expectation of patients. These timeframes are based on expert advice from the High-Grade Glioma Working Group.

Timeframes for care

Step in pathway

Care point


Presentation, initial investigations and referral

Signs and symptoms

Presenting symptoms should be promptly and clinically triaged with a health professional

Initial investigations initiated by GP

GP to consider an MRI

For most patients, referral to a specialist is required within 24 hours

Referral to specialist

If high clinical suspicion of high-grade glioma, patients should be referred to an appropriate neurosurgeon within 24 hours of the patient presenting with symptoms

Diagnosis, staging and treatment planning

Diagnosis and staging

Should be completed within 1 week of referral to a specialist

Multidisciplinary meeting and treatment planning

All newly diagnosed patients should be discussed in an MDM within 2 weeks of diagnosis (if appropriate)



Surgery should occur immediately for most cases or within 4 weeks of diagnosis if not urgent (according to clinical need)

Radiation therapy

Should begin within 6 weeks after surgery

Systemic therapy

Should begin within 6 weeks after surgery or after radiotherapy

Seven steps of the optimal care pathway

Step 1: Prevention and early detection

Step 2: Presentation, initial investigations and referral

Step 3: Diagnosis, staging and treatment planning

Step 4: Treatment

Step 5: Care after initial treatment and recovery

Step 6: Managing recurrent or progressive disease

Step 7: End-of-life care

In 2019, brain cancer was ranked the 18th most commonly diagnosed cancer and the 11th cancer with the highest mortality rate (AIHW 2019). Despite increases in survival since the introduction of concurrent chemo-radiation for high-grade glioma, brain cancer remains in the category of low-survival cancers, with a five-year survival rate of about 25 per cent (AIHW 2017a).