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To date, a routine effective brain cancer screening test has not been developed. However, brain cancer research is currently investigating methods that could be used as a brain cancer screening test. In the meantime, various brain cancer screening methods are used to test people for early stages of brain cancer before symptoms appear.

Brain Cancer Screening: An Overview

Brain cancer screening is used to test people for early stages of brain cancer before there are brain cancer symptoms. At this point, a routine effective brain cancer screening test has not been developed.
 

Understanding Brain Cancer Screening

Scientists have studied patterns of cancer in the population to learn:
 
  • Which people are more likely to get certain types of cancer
  • What things around us may cause cancer
  • What things we do in our lives that may cause cancer (see Causes of Brain Cancer).
     
This information can help doctors recommend:
 
  • Who should be screened for certain types of cancer
  • What types of screening tests people should have
  • How often these screening tests should be done.
     
If your doctor suggests certain cancer screening tests as part of your healthcare plan, this does not mean that your doctor thinks that you have cancer. Screening tests are done when you do not have any symptoms. Patients should discuss screenings with their doctor. Ask questions about the potential benefits and risks of screening tests and whether they have been proven to decrease the risk of dying from cancer. If your doctor suspects that you may have cancer, he or she will order diagnostic tests. Diagnostic tests are usually not suitable for screening people who do not have any symptoms.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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