Acinic cell carcinoma diagnosis

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]

Overview

Acinic cell carcinoma is one slow growing type cancer of the salivary gland tumor. It doesn't have any early symptoms which add to the difficulty in diagnoses. Different diagnostic modalities are used in diagnosis which are Fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy, CT, MRI, PET.

Diagnosis

  • Fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy: In this procedure, tumor cells are viewed under a microscope to determine if they are cancerous.
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan: CT scans are often used to diagnose acinic cell carcinoma. It can confirm the location of the cancer and show the organs near the parotid gland, as well as lymph nodes and distant organs where the cancer might have spread. These are helpful for determining the stage of the cancer and in determining whether surgery is a good treatment option.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): An MRI uses magnetic fields but it is a different type of image than what is produced by computed tomography (CT) and produces detailed images of the body. Like computed tomography (CT), a contrast agent may be injected into a patient’s vein to create a better picture.
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan: When doing this test, a small amount of a radioactive medium is injected which then gets absorbed by the organs and tissues. This radioactive substance emits radiation which in turn is used to produce the images. PET can provide more helpful information than either CT or MRI scans. It is useful to see if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and it is also useful in locating and assessing the spread.

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