Types Of Pediatric Brain Tumor & What Is The Best Treatment For It?

Pilocytic astrocytoma, the slow-growing tumor is the most common type of pediatric brain tumor in addition to Brain stem gliomas, Ependymomas, and Optic nerve gliomas.1,2

The first successful treatment of a pediatric brain tumor was by Scottish surgeon William Macewen in 1879 to remove meningioma through an intracranial surgical procedure.3

Most brain tumor requires a surgical procedure to remove as much as tumor as possible and to relieve intracranial pressure produced by the tumor.

Types Of Pediatric Brain Tumors

Many different types of tumor occur in brains and spinal cord that is often dependent on several factors. The seriousness of the tumor depends on its grade, how the tumor looks like under a microscope. Low-grade tumors are grade 1 and grade 2, they are least serious and grow slowly.

Grade IV is the most serious, malignant, with fast growth and spread into normal brain tissue. The most common types of brain and spinal cord tumors in children

Astrocytomas- This is a brain or spinal cord tumor that originates from astrocytes grows very slowly in adult individuals. Astrocytoma does not usually spread outside the brain and spinal cord and is more common in men than women.

Brain stem gliomas- This condition accounts for approximately 20% of pediatric primary brain neoplasms that occur in the midbrain and medulla. Double vision or not being able to close the eyelids is the typical symptom of Brain Stem Glioma. In most cases, treatment cannot cure this disorder.

Ependymomas- There are primary central nervous system (CNS) tumors that grow in your brain or any part of the spine. The survival rates with this type of cancer are excellent and account for 82 percent of cases. They are slow-growing tumors that occur in the lowest portion of the spinal column.

Optic Nerve Gliomas- Gliomas are low-grade tumors that grow on the nerve and primarily affect children. 30% of patients have associated NF1 but most of them are benign. However, some are highly malignant and can turn dangerous when left untreated.1,2

Best Treatment For Pediatric Brain Tumors

With the advancement in clinical trials, the treatment for brain tumors has progressed tremendously in the last few decades. Some of the best treatments for brain and spinal cord tumors include:

Surgery- This is the most usual treatment for pediatric brain tumors that have provided effective results. Surgery is the only treatment needed for a low-grade brain tumor that can remove all the tumor however it can be performed if the tumor is in a place that makes it accessible for an operation.

Radiation Therapy – This treatment uses high-energy beams, such as X-rays or protons, to kill tumor cells. It is effective in destroying cancer cells works great for metastatic tumors. But radiation therapy involves side effects such as headaches, hair loss, nausea, and vomiting.

Chemotherapy- chemotherapy cures approximately 80% to 85% of children diagnosed with brain and spinal tumors. The treatment plan varies between 6-12 months with up to 12 cycles.3,4

Most people diagnosed with a primary brain tumor have no known risks however the risk increases as you age. Several types of brain tumors show no obvious symptoms. However, the occurrence and symptoms can occur at any age, but they are most common in children and older adults.

If you are child is diagnosed with cancer, your child’s pediatrician will explain the different types of pediatric brain tumor and their classifications based on cell structure, growth, location, and other characteristics.

References:

  1. Subramanian, Surabhi. “Childhood Brain Tumors.” StatPearls [Internet]., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 10 Aug. 2020, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK535415/#:~:text=This%20article%20highlights%20the%20congenital,(GBM)%2C%20and%20medulloblastoma
  2. “Types of Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors in Children-Types of Brain Tumors in Children.” American Cancer Society, www.cancer.org/cancer/brain-spinal-cord-tumors-children/about/types-of-brain-and-spinal-tumors.html
  3. “Pediatric Brain Tumors.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 26 Mar. 2020, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pediatric-brain-tumor/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20361706
  4. “Childhood Brain Tumor Treatment.” MD Anderson Cancer Center Children’s approaches pediatric brain tumors , www.mdanderson.org/cancer-types/childhood-brain-tumors/childhood-brain-tumor-treatment.html

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