Brain Metastasis diagnosis

Investigations that examine the brain and spinal cord are used to diagnose brain tumors in adults.

Investigations and procedures that can be used are:

– CT scan (computed tomography): A procedure that makes a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body and are made from different angles, images are made by a computer connected to an X-ray machine, a contrast substance can be administered intravenously or orally (swallowed) to make visible organs or tissues, this procedure is also called computed tomography, or computerized axial tomography

– MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): A procedure that uses magnetic and radio waves and a computer to make a series of detailed pictures of brain and spinal cord. A contrast material called gadolinium is injected into the patient intravenously.

Gadolinium’s stored around cancer cells so they stand out better.

Adult brain tumors are diagnosed and removed by surgery. If you suspect a brain tumor, a biopsy is performed by removing a portion of the skull using a needle and harvesting a portion of brain tissue. A pathologist specialist examines the tissue under a microscope to find cancer cells. If cancer cells are highlighted, the doctor will remove the cancer tumor tissue, if possible, during the same surgery. An MRI may be performed after surgery to determine if cancerous cells were left outside. These tests are also conducted to determine the tumor.

The types of tumors that frequently metastasize to the brain are lung cancer, breast primary tumors unspecified colon cancers and melanoma. About half of metastatic spinal cord tumors are caused by lung cancer.

The prognosis depends on the following factors:

– The patient is aged less than 60 years

– Location of tumors in the brain or spinal cord to be less than 3 months

– Anatomical location of tumors in the brain or spinal cord

– Tumor response to treatment

– The possibility that the primary tumor to continue to grow or metastasize.

The prognosis is better for brain metastases of breast cancer than other cancers. The prognosis is bad for brain metastases of colon cancer.

Treatment of single brain metastasis is usually surgery followed by radiotherapy of brain area.

Treatment of multiple brain metastases may include the following:

– Brain radiotherapy

– Surgery for tumors that are larger compression on certain areas of the brain causing various symptoms.

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