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Other Tests and Procedures

Additional tests and procedures may be required to explore, understand, or treat effects your child may experience as a result of their brain tumor diagnosis or treatment.

Audiology Tests

Audiology tests check your child’s hearing. Your child may have audiology tests before starting treatment to find out if the tumor has affected hearing. Your child may also have audiology tests during and after treatment to find out if the treatment has changed the way your child hears. An audiologist will perform these tests. Young children may sleep through these tests or may need to be sedated. Older children may stay awake and be tested in a quiet area or inside a soundproof booth.

Creatinine Clearance Test

Some kinds of chemotherapy can affect the kidneys. A creatinine clearance test is used to see how well your child’s kidneys are working. Your child’s urine is collected for 24 hours and sent to a lab. Sometimes a more detailed test called a glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is needed.

CT Scan

A CT or CAT scan uses X-rays and a computer to make a picture of the inside of your child’s brain. This test helps doctors see any tumors or bleeding inside the brain. It can also help them see how much fluid is filling the spaces (called ventricles) inside the brain. Sometimes they will inject dye through an IV to give them a better picture.


Electroencephalography, or an EEG test, checks for seizures. Thin wires are placed on the scalp to measure the electrical activity of the brain.

Ophthalmology Exams

Ophthalmology tests check your child’s vision. Your child may have ophthalmology tests before starting treatment to find out if the tumor has affected your child’s vision. Your child may also have ophthalmology tests during and after treatment to find out if the treatment has changed the way your child sees.

Tests may include visual acuity (clearness of vision), refraction (nearsightedness and farsightedness), binocular vision (ability of eyes to work together), color vision (the ability to see colors), visual fields (how well your child can see to the side when looking forward), and visual motor integration (ability of the eyes and hands to work together). An ophthalmologist will perform these tests.

PET Scan

PET scans use a tiny amount of a radioactive substance injected into an IV to show which areas in the brain are using the most glucose (sugar).  This can help doctors tell which cells are cancer cells, because cancer cells often use more glucose than healthy cells. Patients must lie still during this test.

Blood Transfusion

A transfusion is a procedure that uses an IV to give a patient new blood cells. During treatment for a brain tumor, red blood cells (cells that carry oxygen through the body) and platelets (which help the blood clot) sometimes die off. When blood tests show that the number of red blood cells or platelets gets low, doctors may decide to give your child fresh cells from a donor.

If your child has an upcoming blood transfusion, the following video from the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation’s Imaginary Friend Society can help you talk to them about what will happen in a kid-friendly way.


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