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How Are Brain Tumors Diagnosed?

If your physician suspects you could have a brain tumor, getting an accurate diagnosis quickly is essential. Among the many tools your physician may use to make a diagnosis, you may be referred to a medical imaging clinic. At Concord Imaging Center in San Antonio, we offer patient-driven medical imaging at an affordable cost. Here is a closer look at some of the tests used to diagnose brain tumors. brain - tumors

Neurological Exam

During a neurological exam, a specialist will evaluate things like your vision, balance, hearing, coordination, and reflexes. If you demonstrate signs of diminished function, it could indicate that you have a brain tumor and in what region of the brain the tumor is located. Keep in mind that many conditions can cause these non-specific symptoms, so a neurological exam is not an adequate tool for making a definitive diagnosis. It is simply a piece of a diagnostic puzzle.

PET Scan

PET stands for positron emission tomography. PET scans require the use of a special trace dye that contains a small amount of radiation. As the dye is absorbed into your organs and tissues, it can help your radiologist pinpoint very small changes in cellular metabolism that could indicate the growth of abnormal tissue. PET scans are the only medical imaging tests that show changes on the cellular level, which means it is sensitive enough to detect cancer in very early stages. In addition to helping to diagnose brain tumors, PET scans can determine if the cancer has metastasized and may also be used to see if any treatments being used for tumors are effective.

CT Scans

Computerized tomography, or CT scans, use X-ray beams to provide more targeted and detailed images than conventional X-rays. During CT scans, your radiologist can look for abnormalities in organs, bones, blood vessels, and soft tissue. CT scans are often used in conjunction with PET scans to diagnose cancer, determine cancer staging, and track treatment progress.