Diagnosing an astrocytoma usually requires several different tests. In most cases, a physician will begin the diagnostic process after a patient reports symptoms such as headaches, nausea and seizures. After reviewing the patient’s medical history and performing a physical exam, a physician may order the following tests to confirm or rule out an astrocytoma diagnosis:
- Imaging scans – An imaging test is important for identifying any tumors in the brain and can help a physician determine the size and location of an astrocytoma, which in turn will help him or her recommend an appropriate treatment approach. In many cases, the recommended imaging test will be either an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), which uses a strong magnetic field, or a CT (computed tomography) scan, which uses a series of X-rays, to create a detailed image of the brain.
- Biopsy – A biopsy involves taking a sample of the tumor tissue so that the cells can be analyzed under a microscope. This test is used to determine whether or not a tumor is an astrocytoma.
- Next-generation sequencing – Moffitt Cancer Center is one of only a few providers offering next-generation sequencing, in which samples of cancerous tissue are examined to determine the genetic makeup of the tumor cells.
These tests can provide physicians with important information about the underlying cause of symptoms and can be used to diagnose and grade an astrocytoma.
Diagnostic and treatment services at Moffitt Cancer Center
Whether you are experiencing symptoms of an astrocytoma or have already received a diagnosis and would like a second opinion, you can find the diagnostic services you require at Moffitt. The team that makes up our Neuro-Oncology Program provides a comprehensive range of diagnostic and treatment services in a single location. We welcome new patients with or without a referral to consult with a Moffitt physician by calling 1-888-663-3488 or filling out a new patient registration form online.