Diagnosing multiple sclerosis is not as easy as undergoing an MRI scan and having a neurologist watch you walk; instead, it is a challenging process, and neurologists want to get it right. One thing that was considered even before I underwent MRI scans in 2000 for optic neuritis was the possibility of a brain tumor. It turned out not to be a tumor, but I wasn’t diagnosed with MS at the time, either. Over the years, several patients have reported similar “not a brain tumor” diagnoses when telling their MS stories.
Can a brain tumor be confused with MS?
An extremely rare form of multiple sclerosis, called tumefactive MS, involves brain lesions that look like tumors. These lesions are usually larger and more aggressive than normal MS lesions. Treatment usually begins with high-dose intravenous corticosteroids (e.g., Solumedrol) followed by disease-modifying therapies for MS and symptomatic treatments.
In a recent study, researchers investigated the unusual concurrence of MS and brain tumors. They point out, however, that it is difficult to determine whether brain tumors in MS are more common than in the general population. People with MS undergo more MRI scans than healthy individuals, thus the diagnosis of brain tumors in MS patients may appear to be more frequent (Platone et al. 2015). But not all cancer-related brain tumors appear large; they can also look like multi-focal enhancing white matter lesions which are the hallmark of MS.
Read this post in its entirety:
Lymphoma May Be Confused For Multiple Sclerosis