Diagnosis and tests for Brain Tumour
There are over 100 types of brain tumour, so establishing the diagnosis is essential before determining the appropriate treatment and follow-up measures.
A sample of the lesion must be collected via open surgery or needle biopsy to learn more details about the diagnosis.
The main tests carried out are:
General laboratory tests. To assess inflammation/infection markers and to quantify blood clotting functions, the latter are very important for surgery.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) brain scan. This test provides the most information when studying brain tumours in detail. Besides high-definition anatomical data (structures affected by and exact location of the tumour), the technique also provides information about the areas of brain function, nerve fibres and the degree of activity/aggressiveness indirectly displayed by the tumour.
Chest X-ray. This is one of the tests performed before surgery and also serves to locate potential lung tumours that could be the cause of the tumour diagnosed in the brain.
Electrocardiogram. An electrocardiogram records the heart’s electrical activity; it is also one of the preoperative tests.
Tumour markers. These are special analytical tests used to identify certain blood factors; if the blood concentration of specific markers increases then it is indicative of different types of tumour.
Other possible tests are:
PET-CT scan. This is very useful whenever brain metastasis is suspected as it scans the whole body in search of the original tumour.
Lumbar puncture. Occasionally used to identify the presence of tumour markers in cerebrospinal fluid (liquid biopsy).
Scintigraphy. This provides an assessment of tumour characteristics and a possible differential diagnosis in the case of infection.
Chest-abdomen CT scan. This is used to search the entire body for any tumours that could be the original cause of the brain tumour (metastasis).
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