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Medulloblastoma: A Rare But Deadly Brain Tumour

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Medulloblastoma is a malignant brain tumour that mainly affects children under the age of 10. It arises in the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls balance, movement, and coordination. The tumour can grow rapidly, causing increased pressure within the skull, leading to symptoms such as headache, nausea, vomiting, and difficulty with vision and hearing. 

Causes

The exact cause of medulloblastoma is unknown. However, there are certain risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing this tumour, including exposure to radiation therapy, certain genetic conditions (such as Gorlin syndrome), and inherited disorders such as Li-Fraumeni syndrome.

Symptoms

The symptoms of medulloblastoma can vary depending on the size and location of the tumour. In children, the most common symptoms are headache, nausea, vomiting, and changes in behaviour, such as irritability or lethargy. Other symptoms can include problems with vision or hearing, difficulty with balance and coordination, and seizures.

Diagnosis

Diagnosing medulloblastoma typically involves a combination of imaging studies and a biopsy. An MRI or CT scan is usually performed to visualise the tumour and determine its size and location. If a tumour is suspected, a biopsy may be performed to obtain a sample of tissue for analysis.

Additionally, doctors may also conduct a neurological exam to assess the patient’s brain function, including their ability to move, think, and speak. Based on the results of these tests, doctors can make an accurate diagnosis of medulloblastoma and determine the best treatment plan for the patient. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial for improving the prognosis of medulloblastoma, a type of brain cancer that mainly affects children. Therefore, it is essential for patients to seek medical attention as soon as they experience any symptoms associated with this condition.

Treatment

The treatment for medulloblastoma typically involves a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Surgery is used to remove as much of the tumour as possible, while radiation therapy and chemotherapy are used to kill any remaining cancer cells. The exact course of treatment will depend on the size and location of the tumour, as well as the age and overall health of the patient.

Prognosis

The prognosis for medulloblastoma can vary depending on several factors, including the age of the patient, the size and location of the tumour, and the extent of the cancer’s spread. In general, the outlook for younger patients with smaller tumours is more favourable than for older patients with larger tumours that have spread to other parts of the brain or spinal cord. However, even with aggressive treatment, medulloblastoma can be difficult to cure, and long-term survival rates are still relatively low.

Endnote

Medulloblastoma is a rare but deadly brain tumour that mainly affects children. While the exact cause of this tumour is unknown, there are certain risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing it. Symptoms can vary depending on the size and location of the tumour but can include headache, nausea, vomiting, and difficulty with vision and hearing. Diagnosing medulloblastoma typically involves imaging studies and a biopsy. Treatment typically involves surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.

The prognosis for medulloblastoma can vary depending on several factors, but even with aggressive treatment, long-term survival rates are relatively low. It is important for parents and caregivers to be aware of the symptoms of medulloblastoma and to seek medical attention promptly if they suspect that a child may be affected.

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