Brain tumours are the most common solid tumours that occur in children. Children of any age may be affected. About 450 children in the UK develop brain tumours each year. Boys are affected slightly more often than girls.
Brain Tumours are now sadly the leading cause of death in childhood cancer.
The two main types of brain tumours that affect children are gliomas and medulloblastomas.
- Gliomas develop from the supporting cells of the brain (which hold the nerve cells in place). They can be subdivided into two main types in children: astrocytomas and ependymomas.
- Medulloblastomas usually develop in the cerebellum. They may spread to other parts of the brain or into the spinal cord.
Symptoms of a brain tumor might include
* Vomiting and nausea
* Personality changes
* Trouble controlling muscles
* Vision or speech problems
* Drowsiness or moments of unconsciousness
If hydrocephalus occurs in a young baby, ed the soft spot on the top of their head may bulge and their head may increase in size.
Treatment for children is sometimes different than for an adult. Long-term side effects are an important issue. The options also depend on the type of tumor and where it is. Removal of the tumor is often possible. If not, radiation, chemotherapy or both may be used.
Further detailed information can be found at Macmillan Cancer Supports brain tumour information page.