How To Diagnose Pediatric Brain Tumor & What Is The Best Medicine For It?

Doctors who think the child may have a brain tumor will make them undergo a neurological exam to see what is inside the brain and identify the areas that look abnormal.1,2

Medications used for brain and spinal cord tumors involve chemotherapy and radiation therapy, hormonal treatment, and pain medications.3

Many chemotherapy drugs such as Afinitor (Everolimus), Afinitor Disperz (Everolimus) and, few others are approved and available for cancer.4

How To Diagnose Pediatric Brain Tumor?

Doctors cluster brain cancers by grades that are defined how the cells appear under a microscope. Astrocytoma and meningioma surrounding the brain and spinal cord are the most common types and the diagnosis is done through a neurological exam, imaging tests, and other tests like an angiogram, spinal tap, and biopsy that can help predict the treatment.

How To Diagnose Pediatric Brain Tumor

When your child experience symptoms that coincide with a brain tumor, your healthcare provider will ask for a family health history and suggest one or more of the following tests:

MRI Scan – In general, diagnosing a brain tumor usually begins with an MRI to detect a variety of conditions of the brain such as cysts, tumors, and bleeding. It creates pictures of soft tissue parts of the body which is challenging with other imaging tests.1

CT Scan- Computed Tomography scans take pictures of the inside of the body using x-rays to help find bleeding and brain enlargement. CT Scan is more accurate in predicting Medulloblastomas 19 and it has proven results in 82% of cases.

Angiogram- This is a minimally invasive medical test that can show the blood vessels in the brain. The procedure takes 15-30 minutes to see how the blood flows through the blood vessels.

Most of the scans will show the occurrence of a brain tumor if present. In some cases, the symptoms of a brain tumor can be mistaken for Alzheimer’s disease, headaches or migraines, and multiple sclerosis.2

What Is The Best Medicine For Pediatric Brain Tumor?

The medical advancement in neurosurgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy has improved survival rates in children with brain tumors. The first successful treatment of pediatric brain tumor was performed by Sir William Macewen in 1879 on the 14-year-old girl to successfully remove a meningioma.

With modern intensity-modulated radiation therapy, the exposure of normal tissues can be substantially lowered. Also, “molecular targeted” therapy has brought significant strides for pediatric brain tumors particularly in the “non-malignant”, low-grade tumors.3

Chemotherapy, hormonal treatments, anticonvulsants, and pain medications are the general medications for brain tumors. Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill malignant cells, although several drugs are taken as oral medications yet in young children drugs are injected through the vein.

Some of the drugs approved for pediatric brain tumors include:

  • Afinitor (Everolimus)
  • Afinitor Disperz (Everolimus)
  • Avastin (Bevacizumab)
  • Bevacizumab.4

The treatment is also dependent on the location and type of the tumor and your child’s general health.

The central nervous system accounts for most tumors in children aged between 1-19 years old although this is one of the rare diseases. Several studies have shown that there is a delay in diagnosing brain cancers and have resulted in unfortunate morbidities.

Despite headache being considered as one of the most important symptoms, it is not considered in pediatric studies especially in young children. The cause of the condition is under investigation, but studies have shown that this tends to run in families.


  1. Goldman, Ran D, et al. “Improving Diagnosis of Pediatric Central Nervous System Tumours: Aiming for Early Detection.” CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association Journal = Journal De L’Association Medicale Canadienne, Joule Inc., 27 Mar. 2017,
  2. “Default – Stanford Children’s Health.” Stanford Children’s Health – Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford,
  3. Karajannis, Matthias, et al. “Treatment of Pediatric Brain Tumors.” Journal of Cellular Physiology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2008,
  4. “Drugs Approved for Brain Tumors.” National Cancer Institute,

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