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Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors

Brain tumors, either malignant or benign, are the most common solid tumors found in children. A benign tumor does not contain cancer cells and usually does not recur after removal. These tumors can, however, cause symptoms similar to cancerous tumors. Cancerous tumors, also called malignant tumors, are usually fast growing and involve surrounding brain tissue.

Research continues to find a cause of brain tumors in children, but currently there are no known causes. Patients with certain genetic conditions like neurofibromatosis, von Hippel-Lindau disease, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, and retinoblastoma also have an increased risk for developing tumors of the central nervous system.

The most common symptoms of a brain tumor include increased pressure in the skull, headache, vomiting, nausea, changes in personality, irritability, drowsiness, depression, change in cardiac and respiratory function, seizures, visual changes, slurred speech, paralysis or weakness on half of the body or face, short-term memory loss, gait disturbances, and communication problems.

If your Tenet Florida Physician Services doctor suspects a brain tumor, he or she will order a number of tests to confirm the diagnosis. These tests may include imaging studies, blood tests, and tests of the cerebrospinal fluid. Specific treatment for brain tumors will be determined by the child’s age, overall health, and medical history; the type, location, and size of the tumor; extent of the disease; the child’s tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies; expectations for the course of the disease; and input from parents and caregivers. Treatments may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, steroids, and anti-seizure and other medications.

Previous Page Last Review Date: July 23, 2018