Sarcoma of the Head and Neck Diagnosis

Our Sarcoma Program is home to the most experienced sarcoma experts in the Philadelphia region and offers the latest advancements in diagnostic testing.

Sarcoma of the Head and Neck Diagnostic Tests and Tools

Specialists at the Abramson Cancer Center use the latest tests and tools to diagnose all types of sarcomas of the head and neck.

These diagnostic tests and tools include:

  • A physical exam and assessment of medical history: Your physician will assess your medical history and give you a complete physical examination. During the examination, your doctor will look and feel for a tumor or mass in the head and neck region.
  • Biopsy: a biopsy may be performed if a suspicious mass has been found. A sample of the mass may be removed and viewed under the microscope to look for cancerous cells. Types of biopsies performed may include:
    • Needle biopsy: A physician uses a hollow needle to remove a small sample of the tumor. This is most often performed by a radiologist using an ultrasound to guide the needle.
    • Surgical biopsy: In a surgical biopsy, the surgeon exposes the tumor through an incision and removes a piece of the tumor.
    • Excisional biopsy: Removal of entire tumor or suspicious mass.Lymph node dissection (lymphadenectomy). Lymph node dissection is performed only if the sarcoma has spread. In this procedure, your surgeon removes one or more groups of affected lymph nodes from the body in the area of the tumor. The removed lymph nodes are then examined for cancer cells.
  • CT scanning of the head and neck
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Positron emission tomography (PET)