Brain tumors are most common solid tumors in children and are second to blood cancer in the overall incidence of cancer in children. The incidence of brain tumor peaks before 10 years of age.
Although most of the children with brain tumors have no known underlying disorder or risk factors. Children with certain syndromes especially neuro-fibroblastoma, tuberous sclerosis etc. Have a higher risk of developing brain tumors than the general population. Radiation exposure, especially from mobiles, also increases the risk for various cancers especially brain cancers.
Early signs of brain tumors:
Symptoms due rise in brain fluid pressure either due to obstruction of flow of CSF (brain fluid) OR due to direct mass effect of tumor itself:-
Poor school performance
Loss of developmental milestones already achieved
Symptoms due to compression of brain parts like cranial nerves:-
Impairment of vision
Deviation of face/mouth
Weakness in any part of body
Change of speech/inability to speak
Diagnosis of brain tumors:
MRI of the brain is the investigation of choice for detecting brain tumors. MRI is also helpful in assessing the success of surgery or response to treatment.
Management of brain tumors:
Treatment of brain tumor is individualized and depends on type, size, and location of a brain tumor. It can be chemotherapy or radiotherapy or surgical excision or combination of these. Prognosis or final outcome depends on tumor characteristics (type, size, and location of tumor) and early treatment.
Early diagnosis and early and adequate treatment improve the survival and quality of life in children with brain tumors.