II. Epidemiology

  1. Peak Incidence: age 3 to 12 years old
  2. Most common childhood solid neoplasm
  3. Second only to Leukemia for overall cancer Incidence

III. Etiology

  1. Cranial exposure to radiation
    1. Meningiomas
    2. Astrocytomas
    3. Glioblastoma multiforme
  2. Genetic Factors
    1. Family History in 19% of cases overall
    2. Family History in 30% of Glioblastoma Multiforme
  3. Associated conditions
    1. Neurofibromatosis
    2. Tuberous sclerosis
    3. Turcot Syndrome
    4. Li-Fraumeni cancer syndrome
    5. Von Hippel Lindau

IV. Causes: Tumor types (under age 20 years)

  1. Supratentorial (40%)
    1. Astrocytoma (8-12%)
    2. Glioblastoma (<5%)
    3. Craniopharyngioma (5-8%)
    4. Ependymoma (3-5%)
    5. Choroid Plexus papilloma (2-3%)
    6. Pituitary tumor (<1%)
    7. Pineal tumor (2%)
    8. Meningioma (<1%)
  2. Infratentorial (60%)
    1. Medulloblastoma (18-25%)
    2. Cerebellar Astrocytoma (15-20%)
    3. Brain Stem glioma (8-10%)
    4. Ependymoma (4-6%)
    5. Schwannoma (<1%)
    6. Meningioma (<1%)

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Ontology: childhood brain tumor (C0220603)

Definition (MEDLINEPLUS)

Brain tumors are abnormal growths inside the skull. They are among the most common types of childhood cancers. Some are benign tumors, which aren't cancer. They can still be serious. Malignant tumors are cancerous.

Childhood brain and spinal cord tumors can cause headaches and other symptoms. However, other conditions can also cause the same symptoms. Check with a doctor if your child has any of the following problems:

  • Morning headache or headache that goes away after vomiting
  • Frequent nausea and vomiting
  • Vision, hearing, and speech problems
  • Loss of balance or trouble walking
  • Unusual sleepiness
  • Personality changes
  • Seizures
  • Increased head size in infants

The symptoms are not the same in every child.

Doctors use physical and neurological exams, lab tests, and imaging to diagnose brain tumors. Most childhood brain tumors are diagnosed and removed in surgery.

Treatment for children is sometimes different than for an adult. Long-term side effects are an important issue. The options also depend on the type of tumor and where it is. Removal of the tumor is often possible. If not, radiation, chemotherapy, or both may be used.

NIH: National Cancer Institute

Definition (NCI) A benign or malignant, primary or metastatic neoplasm of the brain occurring in children.
Concepts Neoplastic Process (T191)
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