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Brain and Spine Tumors – Diagnosis

Radiological tests are required for an accurate and positive brain and spine tumor diagnosis.

The radiological tests used are:


Application of radiation to produce a film or picture of a part of the body can show the structure of the vertebrae and the outline of the joints. X-rays of the spine are obtained to search for other potential causes of pain (e.g., tumors, infections, and fractures). X-rays are not reliable in diagnosing tumors.

Computed Tomography Scan (CT or CAT scan)

A diagnostic image created after a computer reads X-rays, a CT/CAT scan can show the shape and size of the spinal canal, its contents, and the structures around it. It also is good at visualizing bony structures.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a diagnostic test that produces three-dimensional images of body structures using powerful magnets and computer technology. An MRI can show the spinal cord, nerve roots and surrounding areas, as well as enlargement, degeneration, and tumors.

After radiological confirmation of the brain tumor, the only way to determine whether the tumor is benign or malignant is to examine a small tissue sample (extracted through a biopsy procedure) under a microscope. If the tumor is malignant, a biopsy helps determine the cancer’s type, which also determines treatment options.