Why choose us for pediatric brain tumor care?
Many types of pediatric brain tumors can affect children of any age, in different ways. At Mays Cancer Center, families can access expert diagnosis, leading therapies and supportive resources. We deliver advanced care that’s convenient to South Texas and surrounding communities.
Highly trained experts, including a pediatric neurosurgeon, pediatric oncologist and radiation oncologist, collaborate to personalize your child’s care. Eligible patients may have access to new cancer drugs that are only available through clinical trials.
Find out more about our pediatric neuro-oncology program.
What you need to know about brain tumors in children
- Pediatric brain tumors can develop from different types of cells inside the brain. Pediatric brain tumors can be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (brain cancer).
- All brain tumors in children are rare. The most common brain cancer to affect children is called medulloblastoma.
- Doctors treat brain tumors in children very differently from brain tumors in adults. It’s important to seek care from doctors who specialize in how rare brain tumors affect children.
- We use leading diagnostic tests to identify the specific type of pediatric brain tumor your child has. This information gives us clues as to how a cancer may act (such as how fast cells may grow or how serious a threat it poses to your child’s health). We personalize your child’s treatment to their circumstances and needs.
- Certain genetic conditions, including neurofibromatosis, can increase a child’s risk for developing a brain tumor. Our team is experienced in treating this complex condition.
- We understand the challenges and difficulties a brain tumor diagnosis can create for children and families. Our clinical psychologists, social workers and other team members support children’s educational goals and help families cope.
How to talk to your doctor about brain tumors in children
Hearing your child has a brain tumor can be overwhelming. You can trust our team to offer you research-based medical advice and a wealth of resources. We support your child and your whole family as you navigate the cancer care process.
We will explain your child’s diagnosis and treatment options in detail, including how any clinical trials your child may be eligible for could improve their care. We encourage you to reach out to us with questions or concerns at any time.
You might want to ask your doctor about:
- Additional testing, if any, that your child may need to guide diagnosis or treatment
- Cancer type, including the type of pediatric brain tumor and whether it has spread
- Treatment options, including what to expect if your child needs surgery
- Potential treatment side effects, such as changes in how your child thinks or acts
- Support services help families address physical, emotional or social difficulties due to brain tumor treatment
Brain tumors are a kind of central nervous system (CNS) tumor. CNS tumors can develop anywhere in the brain or on the spinal cord.
Common types of CNS tumors that develop in the brain include:
- Juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma is a benign CNS tumor. Children with JPA do not need additional treatment after tumor removal surgery.
- Medulloblastoma is the most common brain cancer to affect children. Medulloblastoma develops in the cerebellum (bottom of the brain, near the skull).
- Ependymomas are glioma tumors that usually grow slowly. They can develop in the brain or spinal cord. Learn more about gliomas.
- Atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor (ATRT) is a less common cancerous CNS tumor that is known to grow quickly. It may be more likely to spread to lymph nodes.