Pediatric brain tumors are abnormal growths that arise in the brain during childhood. Several treatment options are available, including close observation, surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
Although brain tumors are rare overall, they are the most common solid tumor among children. What’s important to remember is that children are not simply miniature adults. Brain tumors in children behave differently than brain tumors in adults. What’s more, children require treatment that is tailored not just to their tumor type, but also to their age and development. At the Pediatric Neurosurgery Center, we are committed to meeting the special needs of young patients and their families.
Pediatric brain tumors can be either benign or malignant. Malignant, or cancerous, tumors tend to be fast-growing and aggressive, invading surrounding brain tissue. Benign tumors are not cancerous; they do not spread and they tend to be slow-growing. Even slow-growing benign brain tumors can eventually become problematic, though. Because the skull is a rigid structure with little unoccupied space inside, benign masses can cause problems as they compress brain tissue, nerves, blood vessels and other critical structures.
Depending on a tumor’s origin, it can also be classified as either primary or secondary. A primary tumor originates in the brain. A secondary tumor originates elsewhere in the body and spreads to the brain. (Only malignant tumors can spread and form secondary tumors.)
The most common pediatric brain tumors are:
Although not common among children, other brain tumors that can occur include oligodendroglioma, orbital tumor, pituitary tumor, ganglioglioma and meningioma. Despite being rare among children generally, meningioma is common among those children who have the genetic condition neurofibromatosis type 2.
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