What is Germ Cell Brain Tumor?
As the name indicates the germ cell brain tumors occur in the human brain from the germ cells. These germ cells get stuck in the brain while in the fetal period and later become tumors. The other name for germ cell brain tumor is called as intracranial germ cell tumor or central nervous system germ cell tumor.
The germ cell tumors consists of the teratoma, the germinoma, and the choriocarcinoma. Mixed germ cell tumors do exist. As the germ cell tumors spread through the cerebrospinal fluid, the diagnosis includes inspection of the brain and spinal cord.
Germ cell brain tumor starts from cells inside CNS or central nervous system (CNS) or from tumors somewhere in the body that has metastasized or spread to the CNS or central nervous system.
Symptoms of Germ Cell Brain Tumor
The symptoms of germ cell brain tumor are:
- Being very thirsty.
- Feeling very tired.
- Frequent urination.
- Loss of appetite.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Short stature (being shorter than normal).
- Trouble seeing clearly or trouble in moving the eyes.
- Weight loss for no known reason.
Tests to Diagnose Germ Cell Brain Tumor
The following tests and procedures may be used to diagnose germ cell brain tumor:
Lumbar Puncture Test: It is a procedure for germ cell brain tumor which is used to collect CSF or cerebrospinal fluid from the spinal column. It is a process which is undertaken by inserting a needle between two bones in the spine and into the CSF around the spinal cord. After that a sample of the fluid is removed. It is via a microscope that the sample of CSF is checked for signs of tumour cells. It will also be checked for the amounts of protein and glucose. This procedure is also called an LP or spinal tap.
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) with Gadolinium: With the help of this procedure for germ cell brain tumor, your doctor will use as magnet, radio waves, and a computer to make a series of exhaustive images of areas inside the brain and spinal cord. A substance which is known as gadolinium will be injected into your vein. The gadolinium is collected in and around the cancer cells. In this way they show up brighter in the picture. This procedure is also called nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI).
Neurological Exam: A series of questions and tests to check the spinal cord, brain, and nerve function. In this test, your doctor will check your coordination, mental status as well as your ability to walk normally. He/ she will also check as to how well the senses, muscles and reflexes work.
Physical Exam and History: Your doctor will conduct an exam of your body so as to check for general signs of health such as checking for signs of disease like limps of anything else which looks unusual. Your doctor will also ask your about your health habits and past illnesses and treatments will also be taken.
Visual Field Exam: Your doctor will also check your vision (the total area in which objects are seen). With the help of this test, your doctor measures your central vision as well as your peripheral vision the eyes are tested one at a time.
Treatment for Germ Cell Brain Tumor
Proper treatment is not currently available for germ cell brain tumor. The reason for this is because the tumour is very rare or a recent trial has finished. In such a scenario, your healthcare providers will provide you with treatment which is the most applicable one for you with the help of guidelines which have been prepared by experts.
During and after germ cell brain tumor treatment your child will regularly have regular blood tests in order to analyse their levels of tumour markers. If there is an increase in the level this shows that in all probability the tumour could have come back and further treatment is needed. After finishing the treatment, your child will also continue to have regular scans.
It is best to discuss with your child’s doctor if there are any specific concerns which you may be having with regards to your child’s treatment and condition as He/she is the person who knows the situation in detail.,
Brain tumours such as germ cell brain tumor cannot be prevented. Similar to other tumour types, the exact cause of germ cell tumours is not known.
Prognosis for Germ Cell Brain Tumor
The prognosis for children with germ cell brain tumor largely depends on the type of tumour.
In general, Non-germinomatous germ cell tumours have a 65 percent to 85 percent cure rate, depending on their spread at diagnosis. Mixed germ cell brain tumours are generally more difficult to treat.
Children who have been treated for a germ cell brain tumor should consult a survivorship clinic annually so as to manage disease complications, screen for recurrence and manage late treatment side effects. The follow up will include a physical exam, laboratory testing and imaging scans.
Home Remedies for Germ Cell Brain Tumor
As a parent or a guardian, you should think as to where your child will be very comfortable: at home, in the hospital, in a home-like setting elsewhere, or in a hospice environment. In hospital care your child will receive a palliative care for people who are expected to live less than 6 months. It is designed to provide the best possible quality of life for people who are near the end of life. Special equipment and nursing care will be able to make staying at home a workable alternative for many of the families. A lot of children with germ cell brain tumor are there who are happier if they can keep up other activities and social connections or arrange to attend school part-time. The child’s health care team can assist the parents or guardians to decide on an appropriate level of activity. It is necessary to ensure that your child is physically comfortable and free from pain is extremely important as part of end-of-life care.
Risk Factors for Germ Cell Brain Tumor
Germ cell brain tumor has two types of risk factors:
Environmental Risk Factors of Germ Cell Brain Tumor: The risk of ionizing radiation has been clearly indicated an increase in the risk of developing germ cell brain tumor. Then there are also the risk factors of a patient with eating fruits and vegetables as a child, a history of allergies as an adult, having chicken pox as a child all have the tendency to decrease the risk of developing germ cell brain tumor.
Genetic Risk Factors of Germ Cell Brain Tumor: Genetic can be referred to anything with the genes. However, only about five – ten percentage of all cancer is hereditary meaning that it has been, passed down from one generation to another in a family. If it is hereditary, or a change in the DNA sequence which causes a specific gene, or a mutation and is passed from the grandparent to parent to child. There are lots of genetic risk factors are not handed down at birth. They have however built up over time as we age. For the whole body the genes are the operating instructions.
Complications of Germ Cell Brain Tumor
Serious as well as life-threatening complications can develop with germ cell brain tumor. A blocked flow of cerebrospinal fluid from the third ventricle can result in sudden death. Cerebral hernia is a continuous, calamitous condition where the brain is compelled to enter through an opening in the skull. A haemorrhagic stroke results in sudden loss of speech or vision and paralysis and unconsciousness.
Coping with Germ Cell Brain Tumor
Share your feelings with friends, close family members and even with a counsellor when you are coping with germ cell brain tumor. You may be referred by your GP to a counsellor or psychologist
Medication – It is always a good idea to speak to your doctor in order to help cope with personality change. Your doctor can talk with you with regards to the options available for you such as medication, Steroids will be able to assist you in bringing down swelling, which will be able to reduce personality changes that have arisen because of swelling. They will also be the best people to prescribe medications, such as anti-depressants or tranquilisers to manage anxiety, aggression and depression.
Monitoring others’ reactions – If you know that you have germ cell brain tumor or are concerned that you may be acting erringly, it is a good idea to pay close attention with regards to the reaction of others reactions and responses. In this way you will be able to get a fair idea of whether the way you are acting is in any way inappropriate.
- Boston Children’s Hospital: “Germ Cell Tumors”: http://www.childrenshospital.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions/g/germ-cell-tumors
- Pediatric Blood & Cancer: “Germ cell tumors in central nervous system”: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/pbc.28638
- KidsHealth: “Brain and Nervous System”: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/brain-tumors.html