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Glioblastoma multiforme - children; Ependymoma - children; Glioma - children; Astrocytoma - children; Medulloblastoma - children; Neuroglioma - children; Oligodendroglioma - children; Meningioma - children; Cancer - brain tumor (children)
Early treatment often improves the chance of a good outcome. Treatment depends on the size and type of tumor and the child's general health.
The following are treatments for specific types of tumors:
The goals of treatment may be to cure the tumor, relieve symptoms, and improve brain function or the child's comfort.
Surgery is needed for most primary brain tumors. Some tumors may be completely removed. Those that are deep inside the brain or that enter brain tissue may be debulked instead of entirely removed. Debulking is a procedure to reduce the tumor's size.
In cases where the tumor cannot be removed, surgery may help reduce pressure and relieve symptoms.
Radiation therapy and chemotherapy may be used for certain tumors.
Other medications used to treat primary brain tumors in children include:
Comfort measures, safety measures, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other such steps may be required to improve quality of life. Counseling, support groups, and similar measures may be needed to help the family cope with the disorder.
For additional information, see cancer resources.
About 3 out of 4 children survive at least 5 years after being diagnosed with a brain tumor.
Long-term brain and nervous system problems may result from the tumor itself, or from treatment.
Parents need to make sure that children receive needed support services at home and school.
Call a health care provider if a child develops persistent headaches or other symptoms of a brain tumor.
Go to the emergency room if a child has a seizure that is unusual or suddenly develops stupor (reduced alertness), vision changes, or speech changes.
Buckner JC, Brown PD, O'Neill BP, Meyer FB, Wetmore CJ, Uhm JH. Central nervous system tumors. Mayo Clin Proc. 2007;82(10):1271-1286.
National Comprehensive Cancer Network. NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology: Central nervous system cancers. V.2.2009.
Wilne S, Koller K, Collier J, Kennedy C, Grundy R, Walker D. The diagnosis of brain tumours in children: a guideline to assist healthcare professionals in the assessment of children who may have a brain tumour. Arch Dis Child. 2010;95:534-539.
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