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Childhood Brain Tumors

Summary

Brain tumors are abnormal growths inside the skull. They are among the most common types of childhood cancers. Some are benign tumors, which aren't cancer. They can still be serious. Malignant tumors are cancerous.

Childhood brain and spinal cord tumors can cause headaches and other symptoms. However, other conditions can also cause the same symptoms. Check with a doctor if your child has any of the following problems:

  • Morning headache or headache that goes away after vomiting
  • Frequent nausea and vomiting
  • Vision, hearing, and speech problems
  • Loss of balance or trouble walking
  • Unusual sleepiness
  • Personality changes
  • Seizures
  • Increased head size in infants

The symptoms are not the same in every child.

Doctors use physical and neurological exams, lab tests, and imaging to diagnose brain tumors. Most childhood brain tumors are diagnosed and removed in surgery.

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.

NIH: National Cancer Institute

Start Here

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  • (American Brain Tumor Association)
  • (American Cancer Society)

Diagnosis and Tests

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Prevention and Risk Factors

  • (American Cancer Society)

Treatments and Therapies

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Living With

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute)
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Related Issues

  • (CureSearch for Children's Cancer)

Specifics

  • (American Society of Clinical Oncology)

Genetics

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)

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  • (American Cancer Society)

Clinical Trials

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Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

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  • (American Society of Clinical Oncology)
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