Brain tumor refers to the development of unusual cells in the brain or around the nearby tissues and structures. Pediatric Brain Tumor means the development of these unusual cells in the brain of children. There are two types of brain tumors: Benign or non-cancerous and malignant or Cancerous. Tumors like ependymoma and medulloblastoma are quite common among children. The treatment of the tumor is determined by its severity, type, location, age, and overall health of the child. The treatment of Brain Tumor in children is different from the adult’s treatment. One should ensure to consult with the pediatrician with the specialty in cancer and neurology. Brain Tumors in children are Primary Brain Tumors that develop in the brain or nearby tissues. This Primary Brain Tumor develops when the usual cells have DNA mutations or alterations. The alterations in the DNA permit the cells to develop and distribute or split with an increased rate and destroy the healthy cells. This leads to the development and collection of unusual cells forming a tumor. In most Primary Brain Tumor cases, the cause is not clear. Children with a family history of the genetic syndrome and Brain Tumor are more prone to the problem.
The symptoms of the Pediatric Brain Tumor depend upon the severity, location, and type. There are a number of symptoms that are really common and are shared by other diseases. Other than this, there are symptoms which are possibly the signs of Brain Tumor among children. Adults and parents should consult a doctor if they find their children having the symptoms and signs for an unusual time.
Frequent and severe headache
Fuller fontanel (soft spot) on the baby’s skull
Vomiting or nausea
Sudden vision problems like double vision
Abnormal or strange eye movement
Increased heaviness or pressure in the head
Difficulty in swallowing
Loss of appetite
Drooping on one side of the face
Difficulty feeding in babies
Loss of sensation on one side of the body
Imbalance or difficulty in balancing
Difficulty in walking
The diagnosis for the Pediatric Brain Tumor includes many lab tests. The doctor may initiate with some neurological examination like hearing, vision, reflexes, balance, and coordination. Any abnormality in these tests will lead to further examinations. There are some imaging tests that are used to determine the size and location of the tumor in the brain. These tests include MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), PET (Positron Emission Tomography), and CT (Computerized Tomography). After the confirmation of the presence of a Brain Tumor, the specialist will further move to the Biopsy. It includes the removal of a sample tissue for analysis or testing. The type of biopsy that will be performed on the patient depends upon the location of the tumor. Other than the biopsy, the tumor tissue can be examined for molecular basis and genetic mutations. After that, Drug therapy can be designed according to the individual’s requirements. It is important for the doctor and the patient to know if the tumor has been spread through cancer in other parts of the body. If it is true, then the doctor will perform more tests and examinations to know the root and initial location of cancer for further treatment.
The treatment of the Pediatric Brain Tumor is determined by the severity, location, size of the tumor, and age and health of the child. There is a number of treatments available with modern technology but their usage depends upon the patient’s requirement.
Surgery that is used when the location of the tumor is approachable via surgery. When the brain tumor is small, it can be completely removed by the surgery. But when the tumor tissues are located nearby sensitive areas of the brain, then the surgery becomes risky and maximum tumor tissues are tried to be removed through surgery. The risk of the surgery depends upon the location of the tumor. An example can be vision loss if it is anywhere near the nerves connected to the eyes.
Targeted Drug Therapy helps to destroy the abnormalities of the cancer cells resulting in the destruction of the cancer cells.
Radiation therapy is used to kill the tumor cells by using high-energy beams. Radiation therapy can either be given by an external machine (external beam radiation) or in exceptional cases, radiation is positioned within the body (brachytherapy) near the tumor.
Chemotherapy includes the consumption of drugs to destroy the tumor cells. These drugs can be consumed in tablet form but for children, the drugs are mostly injected (intravenous chemotherapy).
Stereotactic Radio Surgery includes various radiation beams to perform extremely focused radiation therapy to destroy the tumor cells located in a small part.
Proton Beam Therapy carries higher targeted radiation doses to the tumor cells with minimum exposure of radiation to the healthy cells and tissues. It decreases the chance of development of fresh cancer cells.
Pediatric Brain Tumor is the development of unusual cells in the brain or around it. Although this is a life-threatening problem, however, with advanced technology, it can be treated successfully. There are no specific causes discovered by specialists but genetic mutations and family history cause it. The symptoms can be really common like headache and nausea but can also be specific like difficulty in coordination, reflexes, speech, and many more. The timely diagnosis and treatment can give a new life to the child and reduces the chance of development of fresh tumor cells in the future.