Spinal Cancer Diagnosis & Detection
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Video: How Are Neurological Cancers Diagnosed?Learn how neurological cancers, such as brain or spinal cancer, are diagnosed. Dr. Baird talks about the advanced diagnostic imaging tools used and procedures performed to diagnose the disease.
Spinal Cancer Diagnosis
CTCA neurosurgeon Dr. Clinton Baird explains how neurologic cancers are diagnosed, beginning with a review of health history and symptoms, followed by imaging tools.
Diagnosis of Spinal Cancer
An effective spinal cancer treatment plan begins with an accurate diagnosis. At Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), our team of cancer experts uses advanced imaging technologies and tools to precisely evaluate tumors in the spinal cord and column.
Once we have made an accurate spinal cancer diagnosis and determined the location, type and grade of the tumor, we’ll work with you to formulate a treatment plan that best suits your needs. Because of the complexities of spinal tumors, treatment should be based on a tailored, individualized approach.
How Is Spinal Cancer Diagnosed?
To ensure an accurate diagnosis and create your personal treatment plan, we may use any of the following diagnostic tools and tests for spinal cancer:
- Health History & Physical Examination: This includes a review of your medical history and symptoms, and a physical exam to check the spine for abnormal curvature, determine muscle strength, and evaluate reflexes and range of motion.
- Neurological Examination: This includes a series of questions and tests for vision, hearing, motor skills, memory, cognition, and other neurologic functions.
- Imaging Tests: These tests use imaging technologies to produce detailed images of the spine to determine the location and grade of spinal tumors. A contrast dye may be used to highlight the spinal cord and nerve structures.
- CT scan
- PET scan
- Nuclear Medicine Bone Scan - This scan can reveal if cancer has spread to the bone. In a bone scan, a small dose of radioactive material is injected into a blood vessel, where it travels through the bloodstream. The material then gathers in the bones and is detected by a scanner through nuclear imaging.
- Angiography – During this scan, X-rays obtain multiple, detailed 3D images of the blood vessels supplying the spine.
- Lumbar Puncture (Spinal Tap): This test for spinal cancer involves inserting a small, hollow needle into the base of the spine to collect a sample of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) for examination in the laboratory.
For individuals with metastatic spinal cancer, your doctor may perform additional tests to determine where the cancer originated.
Throughout your spinal cancer treatment, we’ll use advanced imaging tests to track the disease and monitor your response to treatment. Once your spinal cancer treatment is complete, we’ll follow you closely with imaging tests to stay on top of any recurrence and determine if further treatment is needed.
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