A brain tumor is a growth of abnormal cells in the brain. Not all brain tumors are caused by cancer. Brain cancer is a tumor that is caused by cancer cells. This kind of brain tumor is called malignant. There are several types of brain cancers. Tumors without cancer cells are called benign. Some types of tumors grow very slowly, while other types of tumors grow very fast.
The sooner cancer is found and treated, the better your child's chances for recovery. However, even advanced cancer can usually be treated. Treatment may slow or stop the growth of the cancer and ease symptoms for a time. Ask your healthcare provider what you can expect with the type of cancer that your child has.
The cause of brain cancer is not known. One risk factor is being exposed to radiation, such as being treated with radiation for other types of cancer. Some kinds of brain tumors run in families.
Brain tumors are one of the more common forms of cancer in children.
Symptoms of brain cancer may come on slowly, or they may start quickly. Pressure in the skull can be caused by a tumor, swelling, or a buildup of blood and fluids in some parts of your child’s brain. Symptoms can be different depending on where the tumor is in your child’s brain. Different parts of the brain control different parts of the body. Symptoms may include:
About half of the children who have brain cancer will have headaches as a symptom of the cancer. The headaches may be worse in the morning or wake your child up during the night. Other things besides brain cancer can also cause these types of headaches.
Your healthcare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and medical history and examine your child. Your child may have tests such as:
Your child may need more lab tests and scans to check if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
Some things to think about when making treatment decisions are:
Possible treatments are:
Your child’s treatment will also include:
Often, more than 1 treatment is used. After treatment, your child will need to have regular follow-up visits with your healthcare provider.
Ask your healthcare provider about clinical trials that might be available. Clinical trials are research studies to find effective cancer treatments. It’s always your choice whether your child takes part in one or not.
If your child has been diagnosed with brain cancer:
It may also help if your child:
For more information, contact: