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Brain Tumors in Children

Grade and Stage

Once a child's brain tumor has been detected, additional tests are needed to determine the type tumor. If a biopsy specimen is taken, the tumor cells will be examined carefully under a microscope to see how different they appear from normal cells. This will determine the grade of the tumor. Cells from higher-grade, more abnormal-looking tumors usually grow faster and are more malignant than cells from lower-grade tumors. Your child's doctor will need to know the type and grade of the tumor in order to plan treatment. There is no staging for childhood brain tumors, and tumors are grouped according to their location within the brain and the appearance and behavior of the tumor tissue.

Treatment Options

Treatment for brain tumors in children varies based on:
  • The type of brain cancer
  • The size and location of the tumor
  • The brain tumor grade
  • The child's age and general health.
In general, brain tumor treatment options can include:
Children with cancer are usually treated by a pediatric oncologist, who is a doctor that specializes in treating cancer in children. The pediatric oncologist may refer your child to other doctors who specialize in the type of treatment that your child requires. Parents of children with cancer should work with their child's doctor to develop a treatment plan that meets the child's medical needs and the family's personal values. Choosing a treatment plan is a decision that ideally involves the patient, the family, and the healthcare team.
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