St. Anthony’s Cancer Care Center

Patient FAQs

If you have been diagnosed with a brain tumor, you probably have many questions and concerns. We understand this, and your health care team is here to answer all your questions and provide reassurance.

Here are some frequently-asked questions about brain tumors:

A biopsy offers a definitive diagnosis of cancer. Imaging studies, such as X-rays, MRIs and CT scans, can show the doctor if there is an abnormality and where it is located, but the doctor cannot definitively determine that the tumor is malignant based on a scan. During a biopsy, your doctor removes a piece of the tumor and sends it to a pathology lab. There, a trained pathologist analyzes it and determines whether it is cancerous.

Depending on the biopsy, you are either put to sleep using general anesthesia or remain awake and receive a local anesthetic to numb the pain. Learn more about brain biopsies.