Why Do I Need A Brain MRI For Lung Cancer?


Patient Education

Why Do I Need A Brain MRI For Lung Cancer?

Understanding all aspects of the diagnosis and treatment for lung cancer can seem daunting, but becoming educated about your condition is an essential part of your journey. If you have been diagnosed with lung cancer, chances are that you have heard about a brain MRI scan as one of the tests to evaluate it; however, you may still be wondering why this type of imaging test is necessary in this context. It may surprise you but a brain MRI can provide hugely important information when it comes to making decisions about your treatment plan.

Through this article, OncoCare, a leading cancer specialist centre in Singapore will explain why a brain MRI is such an important component to diagnosing and monitoring your lung cancer. This will help in demystifying one aspect of navigating this difficult journey so that you can feel empowered as you make informed decisions throughout every step of your care.

Lung Cancer And Its Common Spread Sites

Before delving into the role of a brain MRI in diagnosing and treating lung cancer, it is first essential to gain a deeper understanding of this specific condition. Lung cancers usually are grouped into two main types: small cell and non-small cell (including adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma). These types of lung cancer grow at different pace and are treated differently.

When cancer cells spread from one organ to another, they are called metastases. Lung cancer can also spread to other organs in the body, though it may not always do so. But when it does, there are specific parts of the body it has a higher likelihood of spreading to such as:

  • nearby lymph nodes
  • the brain
  • bones
  • the liver
  • the adrenal glands (small hormone glands just above your kidney)
  • other parts of the lung or the other lung

The Role Of A Brain MRI For Lung Cancer

With findings that as many as up to 40% of lung cancer patients are susceptible to brain metastases, it is evident that those diagnosed with the condition face a very real threat to developing brain tumours. This is why cancer doctors and specialists in Singapore often recommend a brain MRI in order to identify the presence of any brain metastases.

Using a brain MRI with contrast is regarded as one of the most effective ways to diagnose brain metastases. During this type of MRI, dye is injected into your arm to enable the image of the brain to be clearer. In more advanced stages of lung cancer, an MRI is performed to check for tumours that have spread to the brain. Although some may recommend a CT scan for the brain, contrast-enhanced MRI is typically preferred as it is more sensitive in detecting the presence and the number of brain metastases. MRI brain also does not have any additional radiation risk.

Comprehensive Lung Cancer Screening & Treatment At OncoCare

A brain MRI is an important scan to consider if you have been diagnosed with lung cancer. This type of cancer often spreads to the brain, and an MRI can help to identify this spread. Lung cancer patients with brain metastases have different treatment approaches and would benefit from early treatment to prevent neurological issues. Early detection is key when it comes to fighting cancer, so don't hesitate to ask your doctor about a brain MRI if you have been diagnosed with lung cancer.

At OncoCare, we provide a comprehensive solution for all types of cancers. Our integrated facilities and experienced team of specialists are committed to providing the best possible lung cancer treatment and diagnosis. We understand cancer can be daunting and emotionally draining; therefore, our conveniently located clinics offer easy access to world-class care close by so that you get back on your feet faster. Schedule an appointment now at one of our clinics in Singapore and let us help you diagnose any underlying issues early.

“Expert knowledge means better care for cancer”

Written by:
Dr Dr Tan Chee Seng
MBBS (Singapore)
MRCP (United Kingdom)