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Bone Cancer Diagnosis

Imaging Tests
X-rays are used to make a diagnosis of bone cancer, because they can show the location, the size, and the shape of a bone tumor. If x-rays suggest that a tumor may be cancer, the doctor may recommend special imaging tests, such as:
 
  • Bone scan
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
  • Angiogram.
 
Biopsy
A biopsy is procedure that is used to remove a sample of tissue from the bone tumor. A biopsy is needed to determine whether cancer is present. The surgeon may perform a needle biopsy or an incisional biopsy.
 
During a needle biopsy, the surgeon will make a small hole in the bone and remove a sample of tissue from the tumor with a needle-like instrument. In an incisional biopsy, the surgeon will cut into the tumor and remove a sample of tissue.
 
Orthopedic oncologists, who are doctors experienced in making this type of diagnosis, should perform the biopsy. A pathologist, who is a doctor that identifies disease by studying cells and tissues under a microscope, should examine the tissue to determine whether it is cancerous.
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