Pediatric Brain Tumors

What are Pediatric Brain Tumors?

Pediatric Brain Tumors (neoplasms) are rare, but they include approximately 20% of the cancers found in children. Most are primary, meaning they begin in the brain, but they can be metastatic (starting elsewhere first).

There are more than 120 different primary kinds, and they can be non-cancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant). The cause of pediatric brain tumors is uncertain, but researchers have determined that hereditary is rare. Most are caused by unexplained DNA mutations. With the exception of radiation, it has not been determined that lifestyle or anything biological brings about pediatric brain tumors. Therefore, they cannot be prevented by parents and caregivers. Thankfully, as many as 80% can be cured with proper treatment.

What are the Symptoms of Pediatric Brain Tumors?

Physical symptoms of pediatric brain tumors depend on numerous factors including the location and size of the mass. General symptoms of a pediatric brain tumor may include:

  • Ongoing headaches
  • Queasiness and vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Loss of strength or paralysis
  • Balance problems
  • Convulsions
  • Hearing loss
  • Moodiness
  • Fatigue
  • Personality changes
  • Speaking difficulties
  • Memory loss
  • Confusion
  • Depression

A neurological exam, brain imaging with and without dye, a PET scan, tissue biopsy, and/or cerebral spinal fluid testing may be used to diagnose pediatric brain tumors.

How is Pediatric Brain Tumors Treated?

If left untreated, pediatric tumors can result in coma and death. Treatment depends on the type of cells, the location, the size, whether it is cancerous or non-cancerous (grade) and the overall health of the child. A treatment plan may include:

  • Observation of slow growing brain tumors
  • Surgical removal
  • Radiation
  • Chemotherapy
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Last Reviewed:
October 08, 2016
Last Updated:
August 24, 2017
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