The diagnosis of musculoskeletal tumors requires a comprehensive
evaluation that begins with a detailed medical history and physical
Steps to Diagnosis
Steps to Musculoskeletal Tumor
At the Musculoskeletal Tumor
Center, diagnosis of a bone or
soft tissue tumor typically
involves the following steps:
Detailed medical history
and physical examination
by an orthopedic
Radiologic assessment by
performed by an
Pathologic assessment of
tumor tissue by a
Collaboration and communication
among specialists to provide a
If a tumor is suspected, the first step is imaging
studies. For a possible bone tumor, the first test often is an
x-ray; if an abnormality is seen, a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
scan is done to get a detailed picture of the abnormality and the area
around it. When a soft tissue tumor is suspected, an MRI scan is the
best choice for getting a good look at the area of the problem.
If MRI studies raise concern about a cancerous tumor, additional imaging
studies are done to determine if and how far the tumor has spread
locally or to distant sites in the body. This step provides important
information needed to plan the best treatment for a cancerous tumor (staging).
If there is any question about the type of tumor, the final step is to
obtain a piece of the tumor (biopsy)
for examination under a microscope and other testing (pathology
studies) needed to confirm a precise diagnosis. These steps are
crucial if the tumor is a bone or soft tissue sarcoma.
For more information, call 1.866.CALL.MLH.