Brain tumours in children
Brain tumours in children often form in different parts of the brain to adults, and may have different treatments and outlook.
In Australia, about 100 children aged 0–14 are diagnosed with a malignant brain or spinal cord tumour each year.
Children are more likely to develop tumours in the lower part of the brain, which includes the areas that control sleep/wake functions, movement and coordination.
Gliomas and medulloblastomas are the most common types of brain tumours in children.
In general, children diagnosed with a malignant tumour will have a better outlook than adults. In many children, treatment will cause all signs of the cancer to disappear.
Because a child’s nervous system is still developing, some children may have physical, behavioural or learning difficulties as a result of the tumour or treatment.
Health professionals to see
Doctors who specialise in treating children and young adults are called paediatricians.
Some hospitals have play, music or art therapists, who can help children cope with the side effects of treatment. Rehabilitation will also be important.
Talk to your child’s medical team about treatment options, what to expect and your concerns.
The hospital social worker can link you to support services, and provide practical and emotional support.
Organisations that offer support for families, young adults and children affected by cancer include:
For more on this, see Talking to kids about cancer, call Cancer Council 13 11 20 or listen to the podcast below.
The information on our website focuses on adults with brain tumours.
Podcast: Explaining Cancer to Kids
A/Prof Lindy Jeffree, Neurosurgeon, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, QLD; Emma Daly, Neuro-oncology Clinical Nurse Consultant, Cabrini Health, VIC; A/Prof Andrew Davidson, Neurosurgeon, Victorian Gamma Knife Service, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Department of Neurosurgery, Royal Melbourne Hospital, VIC; Beth Doggett, Consumer; Kate Fernandez, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Melissa Harrison, Allied Health Manager and Senior Neurological Physiotherapist, Advance Rehab Centre, NSW; A/Prof Rosemary Harrup, Director, Cancer and Blood Services, Royal Hobart Hospital, TAS; A/Prof Eng-Siew Koh, Radiation Oncologist, Liverpool Cancer Therapy Centre, Liverpool Hospital and University of New South Wales, NSW; Andy Stokes, Consumer.
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