Is Pediatric Brain Tumor A Progressive Disease & Alternative Treatments For It?

Brain tumors are the second common group of childhood cancers, 30 % of the children with medulloblastoma experience tumor progression.1,2

Alternative medicines include complementary approaches such as play therapy, music therapy, and relaxation exercises that can help the patient to cope up with the disease and treatment.3

In most cases, children get a combination of treatments to get the best chance of cure besides limiting the undesirable side effects as much as possible.4

Is Pediatric Brain Tumor A Progressive Disease?

The survival rates in toddlers with a brain tumor are miserable and also the quality of survival is not appreciable. A study was conducted on nearly 600 patients under 2 years of age between 1975 and 1987. Out of the total number of patients, 40 % of the children were diagnosed with a tumor at the posterior fossa, 60% in supratentorial, 24% with malignant tumors, and 73% of patients with benign tumors.

Relapsed after initial surgery was noticed in 29 patients, out of which 12 patients survived for a long time without much progression of the condition. Surviving patients were treated through surgery and chemotherapy and these patients showed better intellectual functionality after surgery. However, when there is progression, 90% of the patient died after 18 months of diagnosis.1,2

Alternative Treatments For Pediatric Brain Tumor

A new study in Cancer Discovery shows that there are possible alternative treatments to chemotherapy in toddlers and infants suffering high-grade glioma brain cancers that are fast-growing and spread quickly through the brain tissue. Treatment is often dependent on the type, size, location as well as your child’s age and overall health. Alternate treatment includes:

Proton Beam Therapy: This uses high-energy beams to treat tumors and can be used to treat certain brain tumors. 46% of patients who received the proton therapy were cancer-free. However, there were common side effects associated with proton therapy that included fatigue, hair loss, skin problems, and soreness around the body.

Play Therapy – A theoretical model to establish an interpersonal process wherein trained play therapists or child counselors work with the children in the treatment of pediatric brain tumors.3

Music Therapy- This enhances neuroplasticity and aid in helping patients who suffer from cognitive illness. Rhythm and musical elements accelerate non-ravaged brain regions and stimulate brain healing.

Relaxation Exercises- Occupational and physical therapists talk about exercises for the mind and body that focus on mindfulness, relaxation, and breathing. They reduce the activity of stress hormones and increase the blood flow to major vessels.

Studies show that fitness and muscular strength decreases during treatment however relaxation exercises can increase strength and improve cardiovascular fitness.

There isn’t a bunch of scientific investigation that supports the use of alternative therapies for the treatment of brain tumors. Nevertheless, experts suggest combining alternative therapies with conventional treatment. Acupuncture and certain herbs can also help with cancer treatment.4

Pediatric brain tumors are generally diagnosed in 25% of cases and studies demonstrate it carries a 30 percent of mortality rate. The survival rate of pediatric oncology below 2 years of age at diagnosis is bleak and also the long-term survival rates are really low.

Chemotherapy plays a vital role in the treatment of childhood medulloblastoma and low-grade tumors. The management of pediatric brain tumors is based on its type and location of the tumor in the central nervous system. Similarly, pediatric palliative is getting increasingly recognized and indeed a crucial topic worldwide.

References:

  1. Nejat, Farideh, et al. “Initial Management of Childhood Brain Tumors: Neurosurgical Considerations.” Journal of Child Neurology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Oct. 2008, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3714852/
  2. Cohen BH;PackerRJ;SiegelKR;RorkeLB;D’AngioG;SuttonLN;BruceDA;Schut L; “Brain Tumors in Children under 2 Years: Treatment, Survival and Long-Term Prognosis.” Pediatric Neurosurgery, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8329301/
  3. “AboutKidsHealth.” SickKids AboutKidsHealth, www.aboutkidshealth.ca/article?contentid=1383&language=english
  4. Karajannis, Matthias, et al. “Treatment of Pediatric Brain Tumors.” Journal of Cellular Physiology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2008, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2574972/

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