Brain Tumor and Brain Cancer—Child
- Primary brain cancer—begins in the brain.
- Secondary or metastatic brain cancer—cancer started somewhere else in the body and spread to the brain. Also known as metastatic tumors.
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- A genetic condition such as retinoblastoma
- Being exposed to radiation, including CT scans
- Being exposed to certain chemicals
- A condition that affects the immune system
- Family history of certain types of cancer
- Worsen over a period of weeks to months
- Be worse in the morning or causes you to wake during the night
- Worsen with change of posture, straining, or coughing
- Headaches different than normal headaches. Headaches due to brain tumors may:
- Nausea and vomiting, especially early morning vomiting
- Trouble with balance
- Personality changes
- Weakness or numbness in the arms or legs
- Vision or hearing changes, including double vision
- Memory loss
- Problems with speech
- Corticosteroids—to reduce swelling in the brain
- Anticonvulsants—to prevent seizures
- Craniotomy —opening the skull to remove the tumor or as much of the tumor as possible
- Placement of a shunt—a long thin tube is placed in the brain to let fluid drain out of the brain
Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy
- External radiation therapy—Radiation is directed at the tumor from a source outside the body.
- If you have a metastatic brain tumor, you will receive whole brain radiation therapy (WBRT). WRBT may also be used in people who have cancer in other areas of the body to prevent brain cancer.
- If you have a primary brain tumor, you will receive more focused radiation therapy.
- Internal radiation therapy—Radioactive materials are placed into the body near the cancer cells. This is used less often.
- Stereotactic radiosurgery—More precise method of delivering higher doses of radiation. It help to target cancer cells and spare nearby healthy tissue. Used most often in metastatic brain tumors or in benign brain tumors, such as meningiomas.
- Physical therapy to help with walking, balance, and building strength
- Occupational therapy to help with mastering life skills, such as dressing, eating, and using the toilet
- Speech therapy to help express thoughts and overcome swallowing difficulties
American Brain Tumor Association http://www.abta.org
American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org
Canadian Cancer Society http://www.cancer.ca
Cancer Care Ontario http://www.cancercare.on.ca
Brain tumor. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated May 28, 2013. Accessed June 11, 2013.
Brain tumors. American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Available at: http://www.aans.org/Patient%20Information/Conditions%20and%20Treatments/Brain%20Tumors.aspx . Accessed June 4, 2013.
Brain tumors. Boston Children's Hospital website. Available at: http://www.childrenshospital.org/az/Site659/mainpageS659P0.html . Updated 2010. Accessed June 4, 2013.
Brain tumors. Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin website. Available at: http://www.chw.org/display/router.asp?DocID=22484 . Accessed June 4, 2013.
Brain tumor. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/brain. Accessed June 4, 2013.
Pediatric brain and spinal cord tumor center. Comer Children’s Hospital, the University of Chicago website. Available at: http://www.uchicagokidshospital.org/specialties/cancer/brain-spinal/index.html . Accessed June 4, 2013.
- Reviewer: Kari Kassir, MD
- Review Date: 05/2013
- Update Date: 06/11/2013