What is Brain tumours in Children?

Brain tumours in children are tumours that develop in the brain. They are most commonly found in the temporal lobe. The temporal lobe is located in the back of the brain and it is responsible for memory, hearing and eye movements.

The most common tumour type in children is called medulloblastoma, which is a cancer that begins in the cerebellum. Other tumours that are found in children are called central nervous system (CNS) tumours. These tumours can develop in the brain, spine or spinal cord, or in the brain and spinal cord.

What are the symptoms of brain tumours in Children?

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Tiredness
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty walking
  • Difficulty talking
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Head injury
  • Loss of vision
  • Severe headache or stiffness in the neck
  • Severe vomiting
  • Stiff neck
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Hearing loss

What are the risk factors for brain tumours in children?

There are certain risk factors that increase the chances of developing a brain tumour. These factors include:

  • Family history of brain tumours or cancer
  • Exposure to certain chemicals
  • Radiation treatment to the brain
  • Chemotherapy or other treatments for cancer

Who is affected by brain tumours in Children?

The vast majority of brain tumours are found in children, and the following groups of people are at an increased risk of developing a brain tumour:

  • Young children and young teenagers
  • Young children who have had cancer treatment
  • Children who have had radiation treatment to the brain
  • Children with certain inherited genetic syndromes
  • Children with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1)
  • Children with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC)
  • Children who develop brain tumours as a result of a tumour in the spine
  • Children who have had brain tumours within the past 5 years
  • Children who have a close family member with a brain tumour

How common is brain tumours in Children?

Most brain tumours are found in children between the ages of 2 and 14 years. Brain tumours are rare in children under the age of 1 year.

What is the life expectancy of a person with brain tumours in Children?

The outlook for children with brain tumours depends on the type of tumour. The survival rate is dependent on the type of tumour, the location of the tumour, and many other factors.

The average survival rate for children with brain tumours is about 3 to 5 years after their diagnosis.

It is important to know the type of tumour and the location of the tumour in order to give the best possible outcome.

Is there a cure for brain tumours in Children?

There is currently no cure for most brain tumours, so treatment will always be needed. The type of treatment your child receives will depend on the type of tumour and the size and location of the tumour.

The treatment for brain tumours is typically divided into three main categories:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. It is often used along with surgery and/or radiation therapy. Chemotherapy is usually used for tumours that are causing symptoms. Many children with tumours that are causing symptoms will need to have chemotherapy to make sure that the tumour is completely removed.

Surgery

Surgery can be used to treat tumours that are causing symptoms. In most cases, the tumour is completely removed with surgery. This is known as tumour resection. Some tumours that have been removed with surgery can sometimes come back and need to be removed a second time.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays (such as X-rays) to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy is often used to treat tumours that have spread to other parts of the body and are no longer responding to surgery.

In summary

In the past, brain tumours in children were usually fatal. Now, advances in medicine and treatment have led to a much better prognosis. The outlook for children with cancer is dependent on the type of cancer and how far the cancer has spread.

If you or your child has been diagnosed with a brain tumour, we can help you understand your options and how to prepare for treatment.

Images by Freepik

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