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  • Diagnosing a brain tumor often starts with a physical exam and a neurological exam. This may often be conducted by the patient’s primary care provider. In a neurological exam, the doctor will ask series of questions and perform tests to check the function of the brain, spinal cord and nerves. The patient’s mental status is also assessed. If a brain tumor is suspected, additional tests are ordered.

    Following diagnosis and throughout treatment, patients work closely with our neuro-oncology care coordinator who meets with patients and families to provide support and assist in navigating the medical system, after diagnosis through treatment to follow up.

    Precision-guided diagnosis

    Accurate diagnosis and treatment of tumors relies upon precisely locating and identifying tumors within the brain and spinal canal. Allina Health has invested in sophisticated technology to ensure our physicians have the most advanced tools to accomplish this.  

    • A common procedure used to help diagnose a brain tumor is brain computed tomography, or brain CT. A CT is a painless test that uses x rays to take detailed pictures of the brain. A CT is especially helpful in diagnosing tumors near bone.
    • High-field MRI scanners are capable of producing the most accurate diagnostic images.
    • Brain cells communicate with each other through tiny electrical impulses. An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a test to measure the electrical activity of the brain.
    • Examination of tissue removed from the tumor during surgery (craniotomy) or CT-guided biopsy may confirm the type of tumor.
    • Examination of the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) may show cancerous cells.

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    Givens Brain Tumor Center
    Abbott Northwestern Hospital Neuroscience Institute
    Suite 304
    800 East 28th Street
    Minneapolis, MN 55407