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without a biopsy, how can a brain tumor be diagnosed as cancerous

By Anonymous June 17, 2010 - 2:31pm
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have lung cancer, mri of brain showed 3 tumors that are consistent with metastasis

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Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger

Hi Anon - The type, and amount, of information that you're trying to absorb right now has to be a bit overwhelming. You've certainly described the situation well in saying it's hard to believe what's going on in your body when you feel so good at the same time.

Last summer I felt a little tired, but I live in Phoenix and it gets extremely hot here (115!) so I thought the weather was affecting me. To make a long story short, it was leukemia, which I learned in an emergency hospitalization. I had absolutely no idea how sick I was until the various diagnostic tests confirmed what was going on. This is actually pretty normal with leukemia. I'm making good progress in treatment, but there continue to be problems that seem to be at odds with the way I feel. It's hard to reconcile sometimes, and I can relate to what you're saying.

Do you have a good support system? What's helping you get through this? Would you like some help to find a support group or other resources? I've met some wonderfully supportive people in my journey with cancer and they've helped a lot. I'd be happy to help you too. Thanks so much for staying in touch.

July 3, 2010 - 1:53pm
Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger

Anon - Well without knowing your exact situation it's hard to tell you what your options might be, but I have a suggestion for you. The American Society of Clinical Oncology set up a website in consumer language for cancer patients that I've found really helpful for obtaining information. It's called Cancer.net, and can be found at http://www.cancer.net/

This page is about brain tumors and as you will see there are several different types so find out what your doctor exactly what type you have if you want to better understand it, and the treatment for it: http://www.cancer.net/patient/Cancer+Types/Brain+Tumor

If you look on the right side of the page you will see a button for information on treatment, and several other aspects of what you're going through. There's also information about meeting your needs after treatment.

I think you will find this very helpful, so will you give it a try?
Thanks, Pat

June 22, 2010 - 5:55pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Pat Elliott)

Thank you for info on the web site, I did get my answer. There is a brain-blood barrier which prevents the chemo from being obsorbed to the tumors.
It is hard to believe I have so much wrong, yet I feel so good at the same time.

July 3, 2010 - 8:40am
Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger

Hi Anon - Thank you for your question. I'm sorry to hear your cancer has spread, and as a cancer patient myself I understand that you have many concerns.

First, the MRI is one of the diagnostic tools used because taking a tissue sample by opening the scull and taking out tissue for a more traditional type of biopsy is dangerous for the patient. I'm sure you can understand the concerns.

During the MRI procedure, the patient's head is surrounded by a magnetic field while radio energy is beamed to the area being examined. That magnetic field causes atoms in the brain to change direction. The radio waves cause another change of direction. When the beam stops, the atoms relax and return to their original position. During relaxation, the atoms give off signals in differing amounts and at different intervals of time. Antennas pick up these signals and feed them into a computer which assembles a picture. Because different atoms have their own characteristic radio signals, the computer can distinguish between healthy and diseased tissue. Radiologists who specialize in reading these results are able to distinguish the differences in tissue as shown by the MRI reports and as they've learned from experience over the many years of doing this.

This site has helpful information on how the MRI is used to help diagnose brain tumor patients:

Please let me know if this answers your question, or if you have additional questions.

Take care, Pat

June 17, 2010 - 5:31pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Pat Elliott)

Pat, I have a quick question about your reply. If an MRI can tell whether a tumor is cancerous or not. Why then is that not the standard way to dianose instead of invasive biopsies?

August 24, 2011 - 1:06pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Pat Elliott)

Yes, Pat, that did answer my question.How is radiation or chemo decided upon as to which treatment should be used for brain tumors that had metastasised from lung cancer?

June 21, 2010 - 3:29pm
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