laurel (sailorhathor) wrote in little_details,

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Brain tumor diagnosis pre-1973

I've got a character who gets a malignant brain tumor and deals with it over 1971-2. What would the doctors have used to first diagnose it and then keep an eye on it? CAT scans weren't available until 1973-4 and the MRI wasn't around yet either.

The character is a young woman, about 23, living in regular American society in that time period (specifically, Boston, Mass). What was the usual path doctors would take to diagnose her with a brain tumor and then pin down exactly what type of tumor it is? I thought they would be able to remove the tumor with surgery and then put her on radiation and chemo, while keeping an eye on her brain to see if any new tumors grow in. (She's pronounced in remission in late 1972.) But how was this done before CAT scans and MRI?

(My research showed that CAT scans and the MRI were invented around this time, but weren't in wide usage until after the time period my character is dealing with. And yes, I know it may be a stretch to use the "medicine: premodern" tag for 1972, but every dang article I came across only talked about from CAT scans on as if no one ever got brain cancer before then.)

Search terms: "cat scan invented," "mri invented," "brain tumor diagnosis history," "brain tumor diagnosis before 1973"
Tags: 1970-1979, usa: health care and hospitals, ~medicine: historical, ~medicine: illnesses: cancers

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