Brain tumors are the most common solid tumors affecting children and adolescents and account for 85% to 90% of all primary central nervous system (CNS) tumors.1
But brain tumors in children are very rare and a person’s likelihood of developing this type of tumor in their lifetime is less than 1%.2
Pediatric brain tumors affect cognitive ability (problems with learning and thinking), often causing seizures, growth abnormalities, and trouble with movement.3
In most cases, the exact cause of childhood brain cancer remains unknown, but studies show that genetic conditions have an enhanced chance of developing brain tumors.4
How Common Are Pediatric Brain Tumors?
The skull does not have excess room for anything other than the brain so when the tumor develops and expands to other areas of the body, it causes intracranial pressure and leads to series of side effects. Brain tumors are classified as primary and metastatic depending on the location they arise.
Astrocytomas are the most common type of glioma and are one of the most common pediatric brain tumors typically noticed in the kid’s age group of 5 and 9. But they can occur at any age however they are non-cancerous. Medulloblastoma is a malignant grade 4 tumor affecting 10-year-old children that are fast-growing.1
Are Pediatric Brain Tumors Rare?
Although pediatric brain tumors are a rare condition certain types of brain tumors, such as medulloblastoma or ependymoma, are more common in children. Primitive Neuro-Ectodermal Tumors are very rare, but fast-growing tumors. A study shows 13,657 children are estimated to be living with a primary brain tumor in the U.S. however most cases are non-cancerous.2
How Do Pediatric Brain Tumors Affect The Body?
The brain and spinal column make up the central nervous system where most or all the primary functions are controlled that includes cognitive thinking, speech, and body movements. Clinical trials demonstrate that tumors, when developed in the central nervous system affect the thinking ability the way they walk or talk.
Similarly, brain tumor treatments can lead to personality changes or behavioral changes including irritability or aggression, confusion, and forgetfulness. However, children recover well after brain surgery, but some children have faces setbacks or long-term problems.
Survivors of pediatric brain tumors may suffer from late side effects such as cognitive ability (problems with learning and thinking), often causing seizures, growth abnormalities, and trouble with movement. Other possible signs and discomforts include.
- Abnormal movement
- Slurred speech
- Balance problems and difficulty walking
- Weakness/dropping of faces.
- Hearing problems.3
What Triggers Pediatric Brain Tumors?
Doctors don’t know why certain children develop a brain tumor, but scientists are still investigating to identify the exact cause. Some studies show that both childhood and adolescent brain tumors occur as a result of radiation exposure. Furthermore, studies also show that there is a strong relationship between genetic conditions and brain tumors.
Children with genetic conditions such as Neurofibromatosis, Von Hippel-Lindau disease, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, and Hereditary retinoblastoma have an enhanced risk of developing pediatric brain tumors.4
Brain tumors are the most common solid tumors in children between ages 5-9. Brain cancer accounts for most of the central nervous system tumors with approximately 4000 people only in the United States. They can be either malignant (cancerous and causes considerable side effects) or benign (they are not cancerous and once removed do not recur)
- “Brain Tumors in Children.” Johns Hopkins Medicine, Childhood Brain Tumors – Continuing Education Activity , www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/brain-tumor/pediatric-brain-tumors
- “Brain Tumor – Children: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine Describing the pathophysiology of Childhood brain tumors, www.medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000768.htm
- “Pediatric Brain Tumors.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 26 Mar. 2020, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pediatric-brain-tumor/symptoms-causes/syc-20361694
- Idowu, Olufemi E, and Mopelola A Idowu. “Environmental Causes of Childhood Brain Tumours.” African Health Sciences, Makerere Medical School, Mar. 2008, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2408544/
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