Brain tumours in children and young adults

What are brain tumours?

There are many different types of brain tumours, which form when abnormal brain cells grow rapidly in different areas of the brain and the spinal cord. Not all brain tumours are cancerous, and how they are classified will depend on the location, type of cell and how aggressive it is.

Common types of brain tumours in children and young adults include:

  • Gliomas, including astrocytomas
  • Medulloblastoma
  • Primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNETs), now known as embryonal tumours
  • Ependymoma
  • CraniopharyngiomaDiffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG)

Brain tumours are the most common form of solid tumours in children across the world. Out of all childhood cancers, leukaemia is the most common childhood cancer (~30%) followed by brain tumours (~30%).

Signs and symptoms of brain tumours

The symptoms of brain tumours in children and young adults vary depending on the location and size of the brain tumour, its specific type and how quickly it grows.

Signs and symptoms of brain tumours in children may include:

  • Headaches that are frequent and continue to intensify
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Double vision, blurring or trouble seeing properly
  • Feeling of increased pressure in the head
  • Seizures or fits
  • Increasing difficulty with speech and hearing
  • Growing weakness in the limbs
  • Problems with hearing, balance and coordination
  • Marked changes in memory, concentration or alertness
  • Personality or behaviour changes

Treatment for brain tumours

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