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Making a Diagnosis

When making a diagnosis, the healthcare provider will perform a physical exam, ask about the child's personal and family medical history, and recommend additional tests and procedures.
Exams and tests that are used in diagnosing medulloblastoma may include:
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
  • Biopsy.
(Click Brain Tumor Diagnosis for more information about diagnosing brain tumors in children.)

Risk Groups for Medulloblastoma

After medulloblastoma has been treated, tests will need to be done to determine 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, risk groups are used 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 treatment. Risk groups that are used for childhood medulloblastoma are:
  • Average risk
  • Poor risk.
(Click Medulloblastoma Risk Groups for more information.)

How Is It Treated?

Different types of medulloblastoma treatment are available for children. Treatment options vary based on:
  • The type of medulloblastoma
  • The size and location of the tumor
  • The medulloblastoma risk group (see Medulloblastoma Risk Groups)
  • The patient's age and general health.
In general, treatment includes:
  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Cerebrospinal fluid diversion.
Parents of children with cancer should work with their child's doctor to develop a treatment plan that meets their child's medical needs and the family's personal values. Choosing treatment for medulloblastoma is a decision that ideally involves the patient, the family, and the healthcare team.
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Information on Medulloblastoma

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