In childhood, brain tumors are the most common form of cancer after blood cancers. Almost half (40-50%) of all childhood cancers are brain tumors. Every year 2 to 5 of every 100000 children are diagnosed with brain tumors. In our series, almost half of the cases that were operated on for brain tumors were child patients. Childhood brain tumors can be seen in every age from newborn to late childhood. It usually presents with nausea, vomiting, and abnormal buildup of fluid in the brain (hydrocephalus) and enlarging head due to this, delayed neurologic development, walking abnormalities, loss of balance, crossed eye, restlessness and tendency to sleep. There is no definite information about the cause of these tumors. All factors that cause cancer in general play a role in brain tumors as well. The most important among them are exposure to ionized radiation and some carcinogenic materials (vynil chloride, nitrite derivatives etc).
Pediatric brain tumors can occur anywhere in the brain, but most of them develop in the little brain (cerebellum), in the anatomic localization called the posterior fossa. Tumors in cerebellum usually present with impaired balance and walking, impaired hand skills, tendency to sleep, headache and projectile vomiting especially in the morning. On the bright side, cerebellum tumors in the childhood (cerebellar astrocytoma, pilocytic astrocytoma) are usually benign and they don’t cause any more problems once they are completely removed; they don’t require chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Rarely, malignant tumors like “medulloblastoma” can be observed. The most important factor that prolongs lifespan in these tumors is a well-performed surgery. However, radiation therapy and chemotherapy will be necessary after surgery.
Today, tumor surgery can be performed with a highly-safe approach in the hands of experienced surgeons and using technological surgical equipments (advanced surgical microscopes, neuronavigation, intraoperative MRI, CUSA etc). Patients can be discharged 3 to 4 days after surgery without any neurologic deficit. Trust you physician, I wish you and all children healthy days…
FROM OUR ARCHIVE
GIANT PILOCYTIC ASTROCYTOME IN POSTERIOR FOSSA
IMAGES APPROXIMATELY ONE YEAR AFTER SURGERY. THE TUMOR IS REMOVED COMPLETELY WITHOUT RECURRENCE.