How do doctors find out if a tumor is malignant?

How do doctors find out if a tumor is malignant?
What procedure is done to see if a tumor is malignant? Is a simple MRI enough to make that conclusion?

- Matt
No, the MRI will only see the tumor itself.

They will have to perform surgery, or another operation to find out if it is or not. Unfortunatly, it's a intrusive procedure just to see...

- Julie B
A needle biopsy is usually done to pinpoint the diagnosis. It does depend on the site as to how this procedure can be done. If it is external, usually topical anesthesia. If it is more internal, then a simple procedure under general anesthesia can get to the bottom of the good cells/bad cells to rule out if a tumor is benign or malignant. Please make an appointment for this, as if you wait, it may get bigger. Good luck and Take Care of urself!

- hobo
I would advise you to sit down with your doctor & discuss this or go to WebMD.com or Mayoclinic.com Try putting in their search "diagnosing cancer"

- Lissacal
When you have a MRI or CT scan, a radiologist can be fairly confident that a mass/tumor is either malignant or benign, in certain cases. For example, a lymph node has classic characteristics which cannot be confused with a cancer. A simple kidney cyst (which appears as a mass) can be diagnosed by ultrasound, MRI and CT scanning. It is hard to confuse a simple kidney cyst with anything that is malignant. When we do a CT or MRI scan, and a mass does not enhance with a contrast media (dye) injection, we can be fairly confident that the mass is benign. Malignant masses almost always enhance....but some benign masses also enhance.
There are many instances when a tumor does not fall into a clear cut category, and a tissue sample is needed to make a diagnosis. For example, on a mammogram, a mass might be found, and we can be very certain it is a malignant mass, but we do not know what type of breast cancer, until there is a biopsy and tissue sample.

My boyfriend had a grand mal seizure in June, and a CT scan found a fist sized brain tumor. The neurosurgeon and radiologist were both very confident it was a meningioma (benign), but it had to be removed due to its size. I still held my breath until the pathology report came back and reported it was indeed a meningioma.

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