Disease: Ependymoma

    Diagnosis

    If it's suspected that you have a brain tumor, your doctor may recommend a number of tests and procedures, including:

    • A neurological exam. A neurological exam may include, among other things, checking your vision, hearing, balance, coordination, strength and reflexes. Difficulty in one or more areas may provide clues about the part of your brain that could be affected by a brain tumor.
    • Imaging tests. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is commonly used to help diagnose brain tumors. In some cases a dye may be injected through a vein in your arm during your MRI study.

      A number of specialized MRI scan components — including functional MRI, perfusion MRI and magnetic resonance spectroscopy — may help your doctor evaluate the tumor and plan treatment.

    • Sometimes other imaging tests are recommended, including computerized tomography (CT). Positron emission tomography (PET) may be used for brain imaging, but is generally not as useful for creating images of brain cancer as it is for other types of cancer.

    • Tests to find cancer in other parts of your body. If it's suspected that your brain tumor may be a result of cancer that has spread from another area of your body, your doctor may recommend tests and procedures to determine where the cancer originated. One example might be a CT or PET scan to look for signs of lung cancer.
    • Collecting and testing a sample of abnormal tissue (biopsy). A biopsy can be performed as part of an operation to remove the brain tumor, or a biopsy can be performed using a needle.

      A stereotactic needle biopsy may be done for brain tumors in hard to reach areas or very sensitive areas within your brain that might be damaged by a more extensive operation. Your neurosurgeon drills a small hole into your skull. A thin needle is then inserted through the hole. Tissue is removed using the needle, which is frequently guided by CT or MRI scanning.

      The biopsy sample is then viewed under a microscope to determine if it is cancerous or benign. Sophisticated laboratory tests can give your doctor clues about your prognosis and your treatment options.

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com

    Alternative medicine

    Little research has been done on complementary and alternative brain tumor treatments. No alternative treatments have been proved to cure brain tumors. However, complementary treatments may help you cope with the stress of a brain tumor diagnosis.

    Some complementary treatments that may help you cope include:

    • Acupuncture
    • Art therapy
    • Exercise
    • Meditation
    • Music therapy
    • Relaxation exercises

    Talk with your doctor about your options.

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com

    Coping and support

    A diagnosis of a brain tumor can be overwhelming and frightening. It can make you feel like you have little control over your health. But you can take steps to cope with the shock and grief that may come after your diagnosis. Consider trying to:

    • Learn enough about brain tumors to make decisions about your care. Ask your doctor about your specific type of brain tumor, including your treatment options and, if you like, your prognosis. As you learn more about brain tumors, you may become more confident in making treatment decisions.
    • Keep friends and family close. Keeping your close relationships strong will help you deal with your brain tumor. Friends and family can provide the practical support you'll need, such as helping take care of your house if you're in the hospital. And they can serve as emotional support when you feel overwhelmed by cancer.
    • Find someone to talk with. Find a good listener who is willing to listen to you talk about your hopes and fears. This may be a friend or family member. The concern and understanding of a counselor, medical social worker, clergy member or cancer support group also may be helpful.

    Ask your doctor about support groups in your area. Or check your phone book, library or a cancer organization, such as the National Cancer Institute or the American Cancer Society.

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com

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