Cancer Home > Medulloblastoma Risk Groups
Medulloblastoma risk groups are used to determine the extent or spread of cancer. They are categorized by the amount of remaining tumor or spread of cancer cells within the central nervous system or to other parts of the body. Medulloblastoma risk groups include average, poor, and recurrent. It is important to know the medulloblastoma risk groups in order to plan the best medulloblastoma treatment.
After medulloblastoma has been diagnosed, tests are done to find out if there is tumor remaining or if cancer cells have spread. For most cancers, the extent or spread of cancer is usually described as stages. For childhood medulloblastoma, the extent or spread of cancer is described as risk groups instead of cancer stages. Risk groups are described by the amount of remaining tumor or spread of cancer cells within the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) or to other parts of the body. It is important to know the risk group in order to plan the best medulloblastoma treatment.
(Click Medulloblastoma Treatment for more information about treatment options for medulloblastoma.)
The following tests and procedures may be used to determine the medulloblastoma risk group:
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Lumbar puncture
- Bone marrow biopsy
- Bone scan.
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
An MRI is a procedure that uses a magnet, radio waves, and a computer to make a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the brain and spinal cord. A substance called gadolinium is injected into the patient through a vein. The gadolinium collects around the cancer cells so that they show up brighter in the picture. This procedure is also called nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI).