Initially, your health care provider will ask you questions about your medical history and characteristics of the symptoms that you experience. After which, he will do a physical examination searching for signs indicating brain cancer: Paralysis of one side of body, speech disorders, loss of coordination, etc. Such test can give an idea of the existence of the disease, but no confirmation. Other more specific exams such as imaging techniques, electroencephalography and biopsy will be performed to confirm the diagnosis.
Imaging techniques – imaging tests such as X-ray, ultrasound, computed tomography scan (CT scan), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) will be performed to enable your doctor to have a clear idea on the health of your brain and surrounding tissues. These exams are necessary not only to detect the cancer but also to determine if it has metastasized to other organs.
Electroencephalography (EEG) – this technique allows your health care provider to record the electrical activity of your brain using electrodes placed on your scalp. It is a painless procedure and requires no anesthesia; its role is to provide information about the neurophysiological activity of your brain in order to detect neurological problems or examine cognitive functions: perception, motor, language, memory, reasoning, emotions, etc.
Biopsy – to confirm with certainty the presence of cancerous cells in your brain, a biopsy is usually required. During the procedure, cells or brain tissue will be obtained either by surgical intervention or insertion of a needle. The sample will be sent to a laboratory to be examined under microscope. If cancer cells are found, your doctor will do other tests to determine the severity of the cancer.
Other tests – an examination of your cerebrospinal fluid and blood (mostly white blood cell counts and electrolytes) will be done to determine the degree of malignancy of the cells and state of your health in general. These examinations are very important in the choice of the treatments.