Brain cancer diagnosis
Many people diagnosed with a brain or spinal cord tumour first go to see their GP because they are feeling unwell. Occasionally a brain tumour will be found during a scan for something unrelated, such as a head injury or an optometry appointment. Some people have sudden symptoms (such as severe headache, loss of consciousness or a seizure) and go straight to a hospital’s emergency department.
The doctor will ask you about your symptoms and medical history, and will do a physical examination. If your doctor suspects you have a brain or spinal cord tumour, you will be referred for more tests and scans to confirm the diagnosis.
Learn more about:
- Grading and prognosis
- Your health care team
- Video: Diagnosis for brain cancer
- Video: Cancer and common tests
For an overview of what to expect during all stages of your cancer care, visit Cancer Pathways – High Grade Glioma. This is a short guide to what is recommended, from diagnosis to treatment and beyond.
Video: Diagnosis for brain cancer
Video: Cancer and common diagnostic tests
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
A/Prof Andrew Davidson, Neurosurgeon, Macquarie University Hospital, NSW; Dr Lucy Gately, Medical Oncologist, Oncology Clinics Victoria, and Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, VIC; Melissa Harrison, Allied Health Manager and Senior Neurological Physiotherapist, Advance Rehab Centre, NSW; Scott Jones, Consumer; Anne King, Neurology Cancer Nurse Coordinator, Health Department, WA; Dr Toni Lindsay, Senior Clinical Psychologist and Allied Health Manager, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, NSW; Elissa McVey, Consumer; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Dr Claire Phillips, Deputy Director, Radiation Oncology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC.
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