[MOL] Educational Series: Children's Brain Tumors/pls. save [02868] Medicine On Line


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[MOL] Educational Series: Children's Brain Tumors/pls. save



EDUCATIONAL SERIES:  Children's Brain Tumors

Cancer in children is rare. The majority of children with cancer are treated at cancer centers with
special facilities to treat childhood cancers. There are organized groups of doctors and other health
care professionals who work together by doing clinical trials to improve treatments for children with
cancer. PDQ can be used to learn more about current treatment of different kinds of cancer. You may find it helpful to discuss this information with your child's doctor, who knows your child and has the facts about your child's disease. PDQ can also provide the names of additional health care professionals and hospitals that specialize in treating children who have cancer.

Before your child begins treatment, you may want to consider entering your child in a clinical trial.
PDQ can be used to learn more about the trials. A clinical trial is a research study that attempts to
improve current treatments or find new treatments for people with cancer. Clinical trials are based on
past studies and information discovered in the laboratory. Each trial answers specific scientific
questions in order to find new and better ways to help people with cancer. During clinical trials,
information is collected about new treatments, their risks, and how well they do or do not work.
When a clinical trial shows that a new treatment is better than the treatment currently used as
"standard" treatment, the new treatment may become the "standard" treatment. Children who are
treated in clinical trials have the advantage of getting the best available therapy. In the United States,
about two thirds of children with cancer are treated in a clinical trial at some point in their illness.

Listings of current clinical trials are available on PDQ. In the United States, there are two major
groups (called cooperative groups) that organize clinical trials for childhood cancers: the Childrens
Cancer Group (CCG) and the Pediatric Oncology Group (POG). Doctors who belong to these
groups or who take part in other clinical trials are listed in PDQ.

To learn more about cancer and how it is treated or to learn more about clinical trials for your child's
kind of cancer, call the National Cancer Institute's Cancer Information Service. The number is
1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237); TTY at 1-800-332-8615. The call is free and a trained
information specialist will be available to answer your cancer-related questions.

PDQ is updated whenever there is new information. Check with the Cancer Information Service to
be sure that you have the most up-to-date information.

What is childhood brain stem glioma?

Childhood brain stem glioma is a type of brain tumor. A brain tumor is an abnormal growth of tissue
contained within the skull, and can be benign (without cancer cells) or malignant (contains cancer
cells). The brain controls vital functions such as memory and learning, the senses (hearing, sight,
smell, taste, and touch), and emotion. It also controls other parts of the body, including muscles,
organs, and blood vessels. Other than leukemia and lymphoma, brain tumors are the most common
type of cancer that occurs in children.
Brain stem gliomas are tumors located in the area of the brain called the brain stem, which connects
the spinal cord with the brain and is located in the lowest portion of the brain, just above the back of
the neck. Gliomas may grow rapidly or slowly, depending on the grade of the tumor. The grade of a
tumor is determined by examining its cells under a microscope to see how similar the cells are to
normal cells. Cells from higher-grade, more abnormal-looking tumors usually grow faster and are
more malignant than cells from lower-grade tumors.

What is childhood cerebellar astrocytoma?

Childhood cerebellar astrocytoma is a type of brain tumor. A brain tumor is an abnormal growth of
tissue contained within the skull, and can be benign (without cancer cells) or malignant (contains
cancer cells). The brain controls vital functions such as memory and learning, the senses (hearing,
sight, smell, taste, and touch), and emotion. It also controls other parts of the body, including
muscles, organs, and blood vessels. Other than leukemia and lymphoma, brain tumors are the most
common type of cancer that occurs in children.

This PDQ treatment summary refers only to tumors that originate in the brain (primary brain tumors).
Metastatic brain tumors, which are secondary tumors formed by cancer cells that begin in other parts
of the body and spread to the brain, are not included. Brain tumors can occur in both children and
adults; however, treatment may be different for adults than for children. A separate patient
information statement containing information on brain cancer that occurs in adults is also available in
PDQ.

Astrocytomas are tumors that develop from brain cells called astrocytes. Cerebellar astrocytomas
occur in the area of the brain called the cerebellum, which is located at the back of the brain and
controls balance and complex motor activities, including walking and talking. Cerebellar
astrocytomas usually grow slowly and do not usually spread from the site in which they originated to
other parts of the brain or body, although they can invade large areas. Some astrocytomas form
cysts or are enclosed in a cyst.

What is childhood cerebral astrocytoma tumor?

Childhood cerebral astrocytoma is a type of brain tumor in which cancer (malignant) cells begin to
grow in the tissues of the brain. The brain controls memory and learning, the senses (hearing, sight,
smell, taste, and touch), and emotion. It also controls other parts of the body, including muscles,
organs, and blood vessels. Other than leukemia or lymphoma, brain tumors are the most common
type of cancer that occur in children.

Astrocytomas are tumors that start in brain cells called astrocytes. A cerebral astrocytoma occurs in
the area of the brain called the cerebrum, which is at the top of the head.

What is childhood medulloblastoma?

Childhood medulloblastoma is a type of brain tumor in which cancer (malignant) cells begin to grow
in the tissues of the brain. The brain controls memory and learning, your senses (hearing, sight, smell,
taste, and touch), and emotion. It also controls other parts of the body, including muscles, organs,
and blood vessels. Other than leukemia or lymphoma, brain tumors are the most common type of
cancer that occur in children.

Brain tumors are grouped by their location within the brain and the type of brain cells where the
cancer began. Infratentorial tumors are found in the lower part of the brain. Medulloblastoma is an
infratentorial tumor. Medulloblastoma is usually found only in children or young adults. It can spread
from the brain to the spine or to other parts of the body.

What are childhood primitive neuroectodermal tumor and pineal tumor?

Childhood supratentorial primitive neuroectodermal tumor and pineal tumor are types of brain
tumors in which cancer (malignant) cells begin to grow in the tissues of the brain. The brain controls
memory and learning, your senses (hearing, sight, smell, taste, and touch), and emotion. It also
controls other parts of the body, including muscles, organs, and blood vessels. Other than leukemia
or lymphoma, brain tumors are the most common type of cancer that occur in children.

Brain tumors are grouped by their location within the brain and the type of brain cells where the
cancer began. Supratentorial tumors are found in the upper part of the brain. Childhood
supratentorial primitive neuroectodermal tumors are supratentorial tumors. Pineal region tumors are
tumors found in or around a tiny organ located near the center of the brain (the pineal gland).
Childhood visual pathway glioma is a type of brain tumor in which cancer (malignant) cells begin to
grow in the tissues of the brain. The brain controls memory and learning, the senses (hearing, sight,
smell, taste, and touch), and emotion. It also controls other parts of the body, including muscles,
organs, and blood vessels. Other than leukemia or lymphoma, brain tumors are the most common
type of cancer that occurs in children.

Gliomas are a type of astrocytoma, tumors that start in brain cells called astrocytes. A visual
pathway glioma occurs along the nerve that sends messages from the eye to the brain (the optic
nerve). Visual pathway gliomas are visual pathway tumors. They may grow rapidly or slowly,
depending on the grade of the tumor.

What is childhood brain tumor?

Childhood brain tumors are a diverse group of diseases characterized by the abnormal growth of
tissue contained within the skull. Brain tumors can be benign (without cancer cells) or malignant
(contains cancer cells). The brain controls vital functions such as memory and learning, the senses
(hearing, sight, smell, taste, and touch), and emotion. It also controls other parts of the body,
including muscles, organs, and blood vessels. Other than leukemia and lymphoma, brain tumors are
the most common type of cancer that occurs in children.