Sunday, January 13, 2008

How to Learn About the Brain Cancer Diagnosis Process


Brain cancer is categorized by the type of cell in which the abnormal growth starts. There are many different types of cells in the brain and therefore many different types of brain cancer. The different types can cause greatly varied reactions. An understanding of what type of brain cancer you are dealing with can go a long way toward helping you choose treatments.


Difficulty: Moderate



Step One

Understand why you have developed brain cancer by asking your doctor. High-risk groups include those people who have had radiation to the head, who have immune deficiency diseases and who have a family history of cancer.

Step Two

Ask your doctor what lifestyle changes would most directly improve your experience. The American Cancer Society recommends that cancer sufferers improve their diets and quit smoking to help the body fight the disease.

Step Three

Learn about developing research at the AMC Cancer Research Center Web site (see "Resources" below).

Step Four

Know that symptoms of brain tumors vary widely depending on the area of the brain where the tumor is located. A tumor in the frontal lobe, for instance, might result in behavioral changes, while a tumor in the occipital lobe will affect vision.

Step Five

Take the first step in the diagnosis process: a thorough neurological exam. If a brain tumor is suspected, the patient will undergo one or more imaging tests. Such tests include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI scan), computed axial tomography (CAT or CT scan) and positron emission tomography (PET scan).

Step Six

Verify that any tumor revealed by an imaging test is malignant by having a biopsy.

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