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Norris Cotton Cancer Center
In This Section

Diagnosing Your Tumor

Before we can treat your bone or soft-tissue tumor, we need to identify what it is and, if possible, why it occurred. In order to identify it as accurately as possible this process involves several steps:

  • Medical History: Your medical history will be reviewed to look for clues that might indicate what type of lesion or tumor you may have and what caused it.
  • Physical Exam: You will receive a thorough examination of the organ systems relevant to the location and potential diagnoses of your tumor.
  • Imaging Studies: Any prior x-rays, CT (CaT) scans, MRIs, or other scans you have received will be reviewed. You may be asked to undergo more imaging. Some tumors can be identified successfully based on their imaging characteristics, others cannot.
  • Lab Studies: Laboratory tests are useful in helping to pinpoint some diagnoses.
  • Biopsy: For tumors that cannot be identified with imaging or lab studies, a biopsy may be required. Biopsies may be performed in our clinic, by a radiologist using an ultrasound or CT machine to visualize the tumor, or in surgery. The type of biopsy is dictated by many factors, but they include the tumor’s location and potential diagnosis.