Brain tumours in children
The information on our website is for adults with brain tumours. Brain tumours tend to be different in children. They often form in different areas, and may have different treatment 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 a physical, behavioural or learning disability as a result of the tumour or treatment.
Health professionals to see
Health care professionals who specialise in treating children and young adults are called paediatricians. Some hospitals have play therapists, music therapists or art therapists, who can help children cope with the challenges of treatment. Rehabilitation will also be important for a child’s recovery.
Talk to your child’s medical team about treatment options, what to expect and your concerns. The hospital social worker can provide practical and emotional support.
Redkite offers a print and online picture book called Mary has a brain tumour that you can read with your child.
A/Prof Andrew Davidson, Neurosurgeon, Macquarie University Hospital, NSW; Dr Lucy Gately, Medical Oncologist, Oncology Clinics Victoria, and Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, VIC; Melissa Harrison, Allied Health Manager and Senior Neurological Physiotherapist, Advance Rehab Centre, NSW; Scott Jones, Consumer; Anne King, Neurology Cancer Nurse Coordinator, Health Department, WA; Dr Toni Lindsay, Senior Clinical Psychologist and Allied Health Manager, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, NSW; Elissa McVey, Consumer; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Dr Claire Phillips, Deputy Director, Radiation Oncology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC.
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