Diagnosis & Staging

How is brain cancer diagnosed?

It is generally diagnosed after a history and physical by a physician or physician extender which results in a high suspicion for a brain tumor. An MRI of the brain (or a CT) will be ordered. If a tumor is seen, a neurosurgeon will be consulted. Other blood work may be ordered. If appropriate, a surgery will be performed to remove the tumor and prove what type of tumor it is (malignant or benign, primary or metastatic, what type of cell became tumorous).

How is brain cancer staged?

Cancers of the brain are usually graded on a scale from 1 to 4 which estimates how aggressively they will behave with grade 1 being the least aggressive and grade 4 being the most. There is not a standard staging system for brain cancers; the most common types are given the same stage as their grade as the prognosis is directly related to the aggressiveness of the cancer. For example, a grade 2 tumor would also be a stage 2. This is different from the way that almost all other types of cancer are staged.