Brain cancer is a dreaded disease that causes tumors in the brain and brings untold suffering to the patient.
There are many types of brain cancer, with some being very common among children.
Here are the common types of brain cancer in kids:
1. Brain Stem Glioma
Commonly occurring in children aged 3 to 10 years, this tumor occurs in the base of the brain. This tumor develops slowly and the symptoms might go unnoticed for weeks on end. In case of high grade tumors, the symptoms may also crop up abruptly. Surgical removal of this type of tumor is not an option as vital functions might be affected. Radiation is the most widely used mode of treatment.
Occurs in the base of the brain and affects the optic nerves, pituitary glands and the hypothalamus. Delayed development, visual problems and weight gain are the common symptoms of the condition. Surgery and radiation are the common modes of treatment.
This is a type of brain cancer that originates in the hollow cavities of the brain and in the canal where cerebrospinal fluid is formed. In severe cases hydrocephalus occurs. The cancer can be treated by surgery and radiation.
4. Juvenile Pilocyic Astrocytoma
This is the most commonly occurring among types of brain cancers in kids. It is a slow progressing disease and is restricted in its spread. It occurs in cerebrum, cerebellum, brain stem and optic nerve pathways. Surgery and chemotherapy are the treatments used.
It originates in the cerebellum and the brain stem, but can spread to the spinal cord and obstruct the ventricles causing hydrocephalus. It is most common in 10 year olds. Surgery, radiation and chemotherapy are the mode of treatment. In case of water accumulation, shunts may be required.
6. Optic Nerve Glioma
As the name suggests, this type of brain tumor develops in the optic nerve pathways that occur between the brain and the eyes. Surgery is the first line of treatment. Chemotherapy is preferred over radiation in children because it may affect their development.
7. Pineal Tumor
Originating near the pineal gland, this type of cancer particularly affects the sleep cycles due to excess production of melatonin. It can cause hydrocephalus due to blockage of ventricles. Chemotherapy is not yet developed for this condition. Clinical trials for an effective chemotherapeutic drug are underway.
8. Primitive Neuroectodermal Tumors
This is a broad type of brain tumor which has many subtypes in it. This is a highly aggressive type of brain cancer in children and affects the central parts of the brain. Though surgery is a primary mode of treatment, it is often followed by chemotherapy to prevent recurrence.
9. Rhabdoid Tumor
This is a very rare form of brain cancer that can originate in any part of the brain or body. It spreads very rapidly and causes symptoms very distinct from the rest. Treatment is very difficult and is often by surgery. Autologous bone marrow transplants are being considered as a possible mode of treatment and the procedure is under trail.