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Brain Cancer Screening

At present, there are no brain cancer screening methods that can be used to accurately detect a brain tumor before a person starts to experience symptoms. Oncologists can keep a watchful eye on an existing cancer if they believe it is likely to spread to the brain, but it is extremely difficult to screen for primary brain cancers, which tend to develop without producing any noticeable warning signs.

Although researchers don’t yet have a way to screen people for primary brain cancers, they do have options for people who have a high risk of developing brain cancer. This includes people who have a diagnosed immune system disorder or a genetic condition such as:

  • Neurofibromatosis (type 1 or type 2)
  • Tuberous sclerosis
  • Von-Hippel-Lindau disease

Even for high-risk individuals, however, there is no single brain cancer screening test that can predict his or her future cancer risk with complete accuracy. A physician may advise a patient who has one of these risk factors to schedule regular physical exams and imaging scans. If a potential abnormality is detected, additional diagnostic tests (such as a tissue biopsy or a lumbar puncture) may then be performed.

At Moffitt Cancer Center, we offer some of the most advanced diagnostic tests for primary and metastatic brain cancers. Our neurosurgeons can perform a craniotomy or another type of surgical biopsy to assess a suspicious mass for cancerous characteristics. If resection is necessary, they can remove the tumor with minimal damage to the surrounding tissues. We also utilize a wide range of imaging techniques, including PET scans and functional brain tumor MRIs, as well as electroencephalogram (EEG) procedures to help assess potential brain cancers.

Patients don’t need referrals to meet with Moffitt’s brain cancer team. Complete a new patient registration form or call 1-888-663-3488 to request more information about brain cancer screening and our effective diagnostic tests.


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