A brain tumor is a growth of abnormal cells in the brain. Brain tumors are a common form of cancer in children. They can be benign (without cancer cells) or malignant (contain cancer cells).
The sooner cancer is found and treated, the better your child's chances for recovery. However, even advanced cancer can usually be treated. Treatment may slow or temporarily stop the growth of the cancer and ease symptoms. Ask your healthcare provider what you can expect with the type of cancer that your child has.
It is not known why most brain tumors occur. The only known risk factor for brain tumors is being exposed to radiation. Some rare kinds of brain and spinal cord tumors run in families.
Tumors increase pressure in the skull, causing:
Depending on where the tumor is in the brain, it also may cause:
Your healthcare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and examine your child. Your child may have a neurological exam. This exam checks things like eye movements, reflexes, balance, taste, and smell. It also checks how well your child is thinking and remembering.
Other tests may include:
A biopsy may be done to confirm that a tumor is cancer and to find out what type of cells are involved. When your child has a biopsy, he will first be given an anesthetic so that he will not feel any pain.
There are many types of brain tumors that occur in children. Treatment and chance of recovery depend on the type of tumor, its location within the brain, how much it has spread, and your child's age and general health.
Possible treatments are:
If your child has been diagnosed with brain cancer:
It may also help if your child:
For more information, contact: