Brain Cancer (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Brain Cancer Exams and Tests
If findings of a medical interview and physical examination suggest to the health-care provider that a person may have a problem in the brain or brain stem, additional tests may be done.
People with brain cancer often have other medical problems; therefore, routine laboratory tests may be performed.
The standard way of evaluating the nature and extent of a brain tumor is an MRI scan (note that many hospitals do not have MRI scanners).
If CT or MRI scans indicate the presence of a brain tumor, the person will be referred to brain surgery (a neurosurgeon). If one is available in the area, the person may also be referred to a specialist in radiation therapy called a radiation oncologist, and a medical oncologist if they specialize in the chemotherapeutic treatment of brain tumors (a neuro-oncologist).
A word of caution to readers; while radiologic examinations of the brain usually are excellent tests, they are not without any risks. People that "doctor shop" or frequent emergency centers with the main complaint of "headache" often obtain multiple brain scans in close succession. This may put the individuals at increased risk of radiation damage to cells. Patients are urged to have a primary medical caregiver to help coordinate all tests to avoid overexposure to radiation from diagnostic testing.
The next step in diagnosis is confirmation that the person has cancer in the brain. A small sample of the tumor (a biopsy) is taken to identify the type of tumor and the grade of the tumor.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/7/2014
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