What Leads To Pediatric Brain Tumors & Can They Be Cured?

The general cause of brain tumors remains unknown and still under investigation, but some primary tumors are associated with other syndromes.1

Research studies have shown that hereditary plays a crucial role in triggering this condition, kids who have the genetic condition have an increased risk of developing brain tumors.2

Most cases of brain tumors are generally treatable especially for the slow-growing ones, surgery is more effective.3,4

What Leads To Pediatric Brain Tumors?

The cause of the primary brain and spinal cord tumors is still not understood and remains under investigation. There are only a few known risk factors and studies have demonstrated that some of the genetic alterations occurring in the brain cells can lead to this condition.

In general, the functionalities of the normal cells are often dependent on the cell’s DNA, so when there an abnormality in the DNA cells, there is an increased risk of developing brain and spinal cord tumors. DNA is a hereditary material in the human body and almost in all living creatures that provide biological instructions that make the organisms more unique besides controlling the cell functions.1

We inherit the traits and features of our parents or relatives because of the DNA structure however when there are changes in the DNA genes, it increases the risk of developing brain tumors.

Another research shows that changes in the gene structure can give place for some rare inherited syndromes that have a greater chance of leading to brain and spinal cord tumors. For instance, the devastating source of Li-Fraumeni syndrome is a syndrome pathogenic variant of the TP53 tumor suppressor gene on chromosome 17.

Since this condition is inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern, where one copy of every gene turns abnormal, it enhances the risk of developing tumors.2

Can Pediatric Brain Tumors Be Cured?

When your child’s pediatrician suspects your child has cancer, they will recommend several tests and procedures to identify the best treatment option. The diagnosis includes:

  • Neurological exam to examine the child’s vision, strength, and reflexes.
  • Imaging tests to identify the location and size of the tumor.
  • Biopsy to determine the type of cells and the extent of aggressiveness.
  • Other tests to see the extent of its spread.

The treatment for pediatric tumors is often dependent on its size and location of the tumor in addition to the child’s health condition to cope up with the treatment. Young brains are different from adults one and the symptoms vary based on mood and personality changes.

So, the doctors focus on specialized pediatric procedures that reduce exposure of the brain or spinal column, with minimal risk. Furthermore, these procedures have shorter recovery times with a reduced impact on the healthy tissues. Slow-growing tumors are corrected through simple surgeries whereas fast-growing will necessitate additional treatment along with radiotherapy, chemotherapy or both.3,4

A brain tumor is a cluster of abnormal cells in your brain. However not all tumors are malignant, of the nearly 80,000 brain tumors diagnosed in the U.S. every year, only 30 percent of the cases turn malignant. Furthermore, the chances of developing into a cancerous tumor in the individual’s lifetime are less than 1%

The primary malignant brain cancers are rare types of tumor accounting for only over 1% of the entire population in the US however secondary tumors are often predicted after they spread to other parts of the body such as lungs, breast, prostate, and colon.

References:

  1. 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/
  2. “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
  3. “Childhood Brain Tumor Treatment.” MD Anderson Cancer Center, Pediatric brain tumor- symptoms and treatment; www.mdanderson.org/cancer-types/childhood-brain-tumors/childhood-brain-tumor-treatment.html
  4. “Brain Tumors: Boston Children’s Hospital. Treating Pediatric Brain Tumors- Diagnosis and mapping optimal pediatric brain tumor treatment ” Boston Childrens Hospital, www.childrenshospital.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions/b/brain-tumors

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