Cancer Home > Medulloblastoma

Primarily found in children or young adults between 21 and 40 years of age, medulloblastoma is a type of brain tumor that forms in the back of the brain. The exact causes are unknown, and symptoms include loss of balance, headaches, and a change in energy level. Treatment options include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, and cerebrospinal fluid diversion.

What Is Medulloblastoma?

Medulloblastoma is a type of brain tumor in which benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous) cells form in the tissues of the brain. It usually forms in the cerebellum, which is located at the lower back of the brain. The cerebellum is the part of the brain that controls:
  • Movement
  • Balance
  • Posture.
Medulloblastomas are usually found in children or young adults between 21 and 40 years of age. Although cancer is rare in children, brain tumors are the most common type of childhood cancer other than leukemia and lymphoma. Approximately 1 out of 5 childhood brain tumors is a medulloblastoma. Medulloblastoma can also be called primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PNET). This type of medulloblastoma can occur in the cerebrum.

What Causes It?

No one knows the exact causes of medulloblastoma, and doctors can seldom explain why one person will get it and another person will not.

Symptoms of Medulloblastoma

Symptoms vary, depending on the child's age and where the tumor is located. Common symptoms of medulloblastoma include:
  • Loss of balance, difficulty walking, handwriting that becomes worse, or slow speech
  • Morning headache or a headache that goes away after vomiting
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Unusual sleepiness or change in energy level
  • Change in personality or behavior
  • Unexplained weight loss or weight gain.
These possible medulloblastoma symptoms, however, are not sure signs of a brain tumor. Other health problems can also cause these symptoms. People who have possible symptoms of medulloblastoma should see a doctor as soon as possible, because only a doctor can diagnose and treat the problem.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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