Tumors that occur in the brain and spine
There are different kinds of cancerous tumors, depending on which type of cells are growing out of control. Here are a few that occur in the brain and spine:
Astrocytomas: Caused by cancerous brain cells called astrocytes and may spread throughout the brain
Craniopharyngiomas: Caused by cells in the pituitary gland
Ependymomas: Caused by cells that keep cerebrospinal fluid healthy and moving
Medulloblastomas: located in the cerebellum from cancerous cells in the central nervous system
Screening and evaluation
An evaluation may include an MRI of the brain or spinal cord to look for a tumor. An MRI is a magnetic resonance imaging machine that lets doctors see more detail than from an X-ray or ultrasound. This is done by using magnetic fields and radio waves.
Early intervention is key
If the MRI shows a tumor, a neurosurgeon, pediatric oncologist (cancer specialist), radiation oncologist, and others may be recruited to form the child’s treatment plan. Treatment can be any combination of the following methods:
Surgery: a neurosurgeon cuts the tumor out of the child’s brain or spinal region
Radiation: a radiation oncologist applies a dose of high-energy electromagnetic light waves to the tumor
Chemotherapy: drugs are used to target a specific kind of cancer, usually only if it is aggressive
Treatment is most effective when the tumor or tumors are diagnosed early.