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Brain Cancer - Children

Brain Cancer - Children

Astrocytoma is the most common type, accounting for more than 40 per cent of cases. Astrocytoma is diagnosed throughout childhood and has no strong pattern by either sex or age. The second most frequent sub-group is intracranial and intraspinal embryonal tumours which account for around a fifth of cases (70 cases per year). These are most common in early childhood; most cases are medulloblastoma, which is around 60 per cent more common in boys than girls.

Cause & Risk

We have not established clear risk factors for the majority of brain tumours in the way that, for instance, smoking has been established as a clear risk factor for lung cancer.


Gradual loss of movement or sensation in an arm or leg. Unsteadiness or imbalance, especially if it is associated with headache Loss of vision in one or both eyes, especially if the vision loss is more peripheral. Double vision, especially if it is associated with headache. Hearing loss with or without dizziness. Speech difficulty of gradual onset. Other symptoms may also include nausea or vomiting that is most severe in the morning, confusion and disorientation, and memory loss.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Identifying a brain tumour usually involves a neurological examination, brain scans, and/or an analysis of the brain tissue. Doctors use the diagnostic information to classify the tumour from the least aggressive (benign) to the most aggressive (malignant). In most cases, a brain tumour is named for the cell type of origin or its location in the brain. Identifying the type of tumour helps doctors determine the most appropriate course of treatment.

Treatment: Treatments such as surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy may be used alone or in combination to treat brain tumours. The choice of treatment will depend on a number of factors, including the type of brain tumour and its size, the grade of the tumour, its position and your general health.

Further Information

Once your treatment is finished, you’ll have regular check-ups and possibly scans or x-rays at the hospital. These will probably continue for several years and may become less frequent as time goes on. If you have any problems, or notice any new symptoms in between these times, let your doctor know as soon as possible. Many people find they get very anxious before their appointments. This is natural and it may help to get support from family, friends or one of the organisations listed on our database.

Recommended Links

Information on Brain Tumours:

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