Brain tumors are the most prevalent solid tumors in children, accounting for over 90% of all such malignancies.
Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant brain tumor in youngsters, representing around 20% of all pediatric gliomas.
It is a type of cerebellar embryonal neuroepithelial tumor.
The majority of children who have medulloblastoma survive for at least five years and may live much longer.
The treatment consists of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, with five-year survival rates ranging from 20 to 100 percent.
This wide range is multifactorial, in part owing to age at diagnosis, the presence of metastases at diagnosis, subgroup variants of medulloblastoma, and concurrent cytogenetic abnormalities such as copy number variations.
What is medulloblastoma?
Medulloblastoma is a type of tumor that starts in the brain. It is the most common type of brain tumor in children.
Children who have medulloblastoma typically survive for at least five years, and sometimes much longer. The standard treatment for medulloblastoma includes surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
The overall survival rate for medulloblastoma ranges from 20% to 100%.
The reason for such a wide range is not fully understood, but it may be due to factors such as the age of the child at diagnosis, the presence of metastases at diagnosis, the type of medulloblastoma, and concurrent genetic abnormalities.
Consequently, medulloblastoma is a serious condition that requires prompt medical treatment.
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What causes medulloblastoma?
The cause of medulloblastoma is not fully understood. But there are some risk factors that may increase a child’s chance of developing the condition, such as:
- Being male
- Having a family history of medulloblastoma
- Having certain genetic conditions, such as neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2) or Li-Fraumeni syndrome
- Being exposed to high levels of ionizing radiation
- Being exposed to certain chemicals, such as vinyl chloride
What are the symptoms of medulloblastoma?
The symptoms of medulloblastoma vary depending on the size and location of the tumor. But some common symptoms include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Changes in vision
- Problems with balance and coordination
- Personality changes
- Weakness on one side of the body
- Loss of sensation in the arms or legs
If your child has any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor right away.
These symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, so it’s important to get a diagnosis from a medical professional.
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How is medulloblastoma diagnosed?
Medulloblastoma is typically diagnosed with a combination of tests, including:
- A physical exam and medical history
- Imaging tests, such as MRI or CT scan
- A biopsy is a procedure to remove a sample of tissue for testing
Once the tumor is diagnosed, your child’s doctor will stage the tumor. This helps to determine how far cancer has spread and what treatment options are available.
What is the survival rate for medulloblastoma?
The survival rate for medulloblastoma varies depending on a number of factors, such as the age of the child at diagnosis, the presence of metastases at diagnosis, and the type of medulloblastoma.
The overall five-year survival rate for medulloblastoma ranges from 20% to 100%. However, many children who are diagnosed with medulloblastoma survive for much longer than five years.
In addition, newer treatments have increased the survival rates for children with medulloblastoma.
For example, the five-year survival rate for children treated with surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy is now 80%. With advances in treatment, the survival rates for medulloblastoma are expected to continue to improve.
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How is medulloblastoma treated?
The standard treatment for medulloblastoma includes:
Medulloblastoma can be difficult to treat because it often spreads to other parts of the brain and spinal cord. However, surgery is usually the first step in treatment.
The goal of surgery is to remove as much of the tumor as possible. In some cases, the entire tumor can be removed. However, even if only part of the tumor is removed, it can still be an effective treatment.
Radiation therapy is a treatment that uses high-energy beams to kill cancer cells. It is often used after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells.
Radiation therapy can also be used before surgery to shrink the tumor and make it smaller, which in turn makes it easier to remove during surgery.
Radiation therapy works by damaging the DNA of cancer cells, which prevents them from growing and dividing.
Chemotherapy is a treatment that uses drugs to kill cancer cells. It can be used before or after surgery, or it can be used as the only treatment if surgery is not an option.
Chemotherapy works by damaging the DNA of cancer cells, which prevents them from growing and dividing.
Targeted therapy is a newer type of treatment that uses drugs to target specific mutations in cancer cells. This type of treatment is often used in combination with other treatments, such as surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
Targeted therapy works by targeting the specific mutations that are causing the cancer cells to grow and divide.
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The bottom line
Medulloblastoma is a type of brain tumor that can be difficult to treat. However, the survival rates for medulloblastoma are improving with advances in treatment.
The standard treatment for medulloblastoma includes surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Targeted therapy is a newer type of treatment that is often used in combination with other treatments.
With advances in treatment, the survival rates for medulloblastoma are expected to continue to improve.