Surgery is usually the first step in treating brain tumors in children.
Certain types of brain tumors located near the bottom of the skull, also called skull-base tumors, can be removed through the nose using tools called endoscopes. Because the base of the skull is close to the nostrils and roof of the mouth, your child’s surgeon can access the tumor more easily and safely with endoscopic endonasal surgery by going through the nostrils, minimizing the need for more invasive procedures.
Surgery is also performed for a biopsy — a sample of tissue taken to examine the types of cells found in the tumor. This helps establish a diagnosis and treatment plan. This is frequently done when the tumor is surrounded by sensitive structures that may be damaged by surgical removal.
Other therapies used to treat brain tumors include:
Late effects are problems that patients can develop after cancer treatments have ended. For survivors of pediatric brain tumors, late effects may include cognitive delay (problems with learning and thinking), seizures, growth abnormalities, hormone deficiencies, vision and hearing problems, and the possibility of developing a second cancer, including a second brain tumor.
Because these problems sometimes don't become apparent until years after treatment, careful observation and medical follow-up are needed to watch for them.
In some cases, short-term effects might improve with the help of physical, occupational, or speech therapy and may continue to improve as the brain heals.
In other cases, kids may have side effects that last longer, including learning disabilities; medical problems such as diabetes, delayed growth, or delayed or early puberty; physical disabilities related to movement, speech, or swallowing; and emotional problems linked to the stresses of diagnosis and treatment. Some of these problems may become more severe over time.
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