Doctors may use many different tests to find and diagnose a brain tumour, as well as to identify the size and spread of the tumour. Some of the diagnostic option include:

  • MRI: Brain tumour diagnosis will generally begin with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Once the presence of a tumour is confirmed, a biopsy may be done to determine the type of tumour.
  • Biopsy: Taking a small sample of the tumour tissue, called a biopsy, is a way for the doctor to ensure that it is, in fact, a cancerous tumour.
  • CT Scan: This scan will take 3D photos of abnormalities, and can be used to measure a tumour’s size. It is also useful in cases where an MRI cannot be performed, such as when the patient has a pacemaker for their heart.
  • Lumbar puncture/spinal tap: A sample of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) can be examined for tumour cells, blood, or biomarkers.
  • Neurological/vision/hearing tests: These tests can determine the extent of a tumour’s impact on brain function.

Once diagnostic tests have been done, your medical professional will review the results with you. If there is a diagnosis of a brain tumour, there may be further tests done to learn more about the tumour, and help prepare an appropriate treatment plan.


Information taken from Cancer.net.