Brain Tumors (Pediatric)
What are brain tumors?
Brain tumors consist of abnormal cells that grow in the brain. They may be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Types of brain tumors have different names based on their location in the brain and the type of tissue involved. There are many different types of brain tumors, but the most common in childhood are:
- Primitve neuroectodermal tumors
What causes brain tumors?
The cause of most brain tumors is unknown.
What are the symptoms of brain tumors?
The most common symptoms in children with brain tumors are:
- Headaches (they are often present when children wake up in the morning, during exercise, or with certain changes in body position.)
- Difficulty with speech
- Gradual loss of movement or feeling in an arm or leg
- Memory loss
- Personality and behavior changes
- Problems with balance and weakness or numbness
How are brain tumors diagnosed?
- Complete history
- Physical and neurological exams
- CT and MRI of the head and spine
- PET scan
- Examination of the cerebrospinal fluid
What is the treatment for brain tumors?
Our pediatric oncology team makes treatment plans depending on the size and type of tumor and the child’s general health. Options are:
- Biopsy of the tumor
- Surgical removal, if possible
- Radiation therapy
- Stem cell transplant
- Supportice care with corticosteroids, anticonvulsants to reduce or prevent seizures and pain medications
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Palliative care