Neurologic Cancer Detection and Diagnosis

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Meet George Bobustuc, MD - a neurological oncologist at Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center. He works specifically with tumors in the brain and spinal cord. In this set of videos, Dr. Bobustuc explains his sub-specialty and his passion for patient care.

With cancers of the brain and nervous system, accurate diagnoses is essential. Our fellowship-trained neuroradiologists use the latest, most accurate neuro-imaging tools available:

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

MRI uses a strong magnetic field and radio frequency waves to provide a clear picture of the body's soft tissues. This technology helps radiologists diagnose brain tumors, as well as disorders of the eyes and inner ear.

  • 3T MRI: St. Luke's recently installed a 3T MRI unit—a high-tech microscope that provides more detailed scans for greater accuracy in diagnosis. This new MRI picks up subtle abnormalities that traditional MRI may miss.
  • Open MRI: our neuroradiologists work with the latest imaging technology, such as open MRI. Unlike conventional MRI systems, open MRI gives our physicians access to the patient during scanning, which allows procedures like real-time brain tumor biopsies to be performed.
  • Functional MRI: functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) measures the metabolic changes that take place in an active part of the brain. Physicians know the general locations in the brain where speech, sensation, memory and other functions are seated. The precise locations of those centers, however, vary from one individual to another. Brain tumors can shift these centers to other parts of the brain. fMRI helps physicians accurately map the brain, which is critical to planning surgery, radiation therapy and other interventional treatments.

16-slice Computed Tomography

Computed tomography provides all the diagnostic advantages of conventional CT (ability to obtain cross-sectional images of body tissues and organs) with greater speed and more precise detail within the images. Often used with contrast agents, 16-slice CT yields useful information on head injuries, brain tumors and other brain diseases. A 16-slice CT is also used to view bone, soft tissue and blood vessels in the same image for accurate tumor landmarking.


The combination of Positron Emission Tomography (PET) with Computed Tomography (CT) represents the frontier of diagnostic cancer imaging. The technology provides physicians with two sets of information from a single scan: the anatomical data yielded by a CT scan and the metabolic information provided by PET. This relatively new technology is helpful in localizing smaller cancers and in defining areas to which primary cancers have metastasized.


Our neuropsychologists work with neurologists and neurosurgeons to assess a variety of neurological issues and suspected cognitive dysfunction. Any patient with a suspected change in thinking abilities may benefit from a neuropsychological evaluation.

Evaluations assess a broad range of thinking abilities including general intellectual function, memory, learning, attention, concentration, processing speed, verbal comprehension, language, visual perception, perceptual organization, basic motor and sensory function, academic skills, reasoning, problem-solving, abstraction and other executive functions.

A neuropsychological evaluation also encompasses a patient's emotional and psychological status. Patient treatment and rehabilitation is then tailored to each patient's level of cognitive function.