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  • Neuro-Oncology

  • Advanced Diagnostics

  • Round TablePatients referred to the division of neuro-oncology are first seen by a neuro-oncologist, who performs a thorough medical and neurological evaluation to establish or confirm a diagnosis. The neuro-oncologist continues to see the patient on a regular basis and to coordinate his or her care throughout the treatment process.

    Quick and highly accurate diagnoses result in timely and effective treatments. Equipped with the most current and precise imaging systems, the division of neuro-oncology may use any of the following methods to provide fast, precise diagnoses:

    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses a strong magnetic field and radiowaves to image the body.
    • Perfusion MRI identifies brain tumors at an early stage by showing changes in blood volume and flow that result from angiogenesis. It can be used to evaluate blood flow in cerebral capillaries and venules and can identify areas of a tumor with highest malignancy potential, thereby helping to plan treatment.
    • Diffusion MRI is used to image the movement of water through the brain. Tumor cells reduce water movement. By tracking this movement, diffusion MRI provides images that show whether or not treatments are effective at killing cancer cells.
    • MRI spectroscopy uses the chemical signature generated by magnetic resonance imaging to monitor brain activity (that is, to see whether cells are actively multiplying from tumor growth or dying because of treatment) rather than just simply image the anatomical structure of the brain as traditional MRI does.
    • Computed tomography (CT) scans produce cross-section images of the body using x-rays and a computer.
    • Ultrasound creates images of the inside of the body by using high frequency sound waves and a microphone.
    • Arteriography uses x-rays to image the blood vessels in the brain after injection of contrast material.
    • Neuropathology is the examination of biopsy tissue from the brain or spinal cord to diagnose disease. A biopsy may be done using a small needle or surgery.
    • Nuclear medicine uses small, safe amounts of radioactive material to aid in imaging body structures. Through the use of cameras, computer technology and medicine with radiopharmaceuticals, nuclear medicine provides information about the structure and function of organs that can be used to diagnose and treat disease.

    In addition to these accurate diagnostic tools, Rhode Island Hospital is the first facility to offer:

    • Positron emission tomography (PET), which allows physicians to identify illnesses much earlier than ever before.
    • Stereotactic biopsy, which is a precise computer-assisted method of obtaining the tissue sample required for diagnosis.