Find out how a benign (non-cancerous) brain tumour is diagnosed. After an initial assessment, you may have a neurological examination and further tests.
See your GP if you develop any of the symptoms of a benign (non-cancerous) brain tumour, such as a new, persistent headache.
They'll examine you, ask about your symptoms, and may also carry out a simple neurological examination.
If they suspect you may have a tumour or aren't sure what's causing your symptoms, they may refer you to a brain and nerve specialist (a neurologist) for further investigation.
Your GP or neurologist may test your nervous system to check for problems associated with a brain tumour.
This may involve testing your:
- arm and leg strength
- reflexes, such as your knee-jerk reflex
- hearing and vision
- skin sensitivity
- balance and co-ordination
- memory and mental agility using simple questions or arithmetic
A neurologist may also recommend one or more of the tests described below.
Other tests you may have to help diagnose a brain tumour include:
- a CT scan – where X-rays are used to build a detailed image of your brain
- an MRI scan – where a detailed image of your brain is produced using a strong magnetic field
- an electroencephalogram (EEG) – electrodes are attached to your scalp to record your brain activity and detect any abnormalities if it's suspected you're having epileptic fits
If a tumour is suspected, a biopsy may be carried out to establish the type of tumour and the most effective treatment.
Under anaesthetic, a small hole is made in the skull and a very fine needle is used to take a sample of tumour tissue.
You may need to stay in hospital for a few days after having a biopsy, although sometimes it's carried out as a day case and you may be able to go home on the same day.