Treatment for childhood brain tumours depend on the type of tumour, its location and stage, the child’s age and various other factors. The treatment team consists of a Paediatric Neurosurgeon, Paediatric Haematologist-Oncologist, Radiation Oncologist, Paediatric Neurologist and Paediatric Endocrinologist as well as other allied health professionals.
If the tumour is located in an area of the brain that can be accessed surgically, initial treatment will involve an operation to remove the tumour while minimising damage to surrounding areas of the brain. In cases where only part of the tumour can be removed safely, further treatment such as radiation therapy or chemotherapy will be required.
Chemotherapy is the use of drugs that destroy cancer cells. The type of medicine that is delivered, and how often it is needed, will depend on the type of cancer, its response to treatment, and how the child copes throughout the treatment process. Chemotherapy is commonly delivered after surgery or in combination with radiation therapy.
Radiation therapy is a highly-targeted technique which delivers radiation directly to the tumour to destroy rapidly growing cells. The Radiation Oncologist together with the child’s Paediatric Haematologist-Oncologist will discuss the benefits and risks associated with radiation therapy, including potential long-term side effects for children and young adults.