Childhood Brain Stem Glioma is a disease that causes benign and malignant tumors in the brain stem tissues. In this cancer type, the brainstem connects the brain to the spinal cord causing tumors in the central nervous system. Glioma is the tumor of brain cells called the glial cells, which are supportive brain cells. The brain stem gliomas in children cause tumor that metastasizes differently in every child. The glioma, when diagnosed, shows its metastasis through the brain stem, being aggressive. A small percentage of brain stem tumors are localized. Most brain tumors develop in the pons and grow in the part of the brain stem showing complexities while undergoing the surgical process and evolving challenges in the treatment of Brain stem gliomas. Childhood Brain Stem Gliomas occurs most commonly in children belonging to the age group of 5-10 years.
What is Childhood Brain Stem Glioma
Childhood Brain Stem Glioma where the brainstem is the structure that connects the brain to the spinal cord. Brain stems control the body’s essential functions like motor skills, sensory activities, walking, heartbeat, breathing etc.
It has three parts:
- The medulla oblongata
- The pons
Brain stem glioma is a form of CNS tumor (Central Nervous System tumor) 1. This tumor starts when normal and healthy cells grow uncontrollably and start forming a tumor mass. The tumor can be benign or malignant. A cancerous tumor is malignant, meaning it can grow and spread to other body parts. A benign tumor means the tumor can grow but will not apply.
Glioma is the tumor of brain cells called the glial cells, which are supportive brain cells.
Glial cells of the brain hold nerve cells in position, bring nutrition and oxygen to neurons, and help protect them from disease, like an infection.
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Usually, when the glioma is diagnosed, it has already spread freely through the brain stem. This type of tumor is typically aggressive, which means it grows and spreads quickly. A small percentage of brain stem tumors are very localized, called focal tumors. A focal tumor is often less likely to grow and spread quickly.
Most brain stem tumors develop in the pons and grow in the part of the brain stem where performing surgery can be complex, making Brain stem gliomas challenging to treat.
Brain Stem Glioma – Childhood occurs commonly in children between the age of 5 and 10 years old 2.
- 1.Grimm SA, Chamberlain MC. Brainstem Glioma: A Review. Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. Published online March 20, 2013. doi:10.1007/s11910-013-0346-3
- 2.Tomita T, McLone D, Naidich T. Brain stem gliomas in childhood. J Neuro-Oncol. Published online 1984. doi:10.1007/bf00177896