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Medulloblastoma

A medulloblastoma is a malignant tumor in the cerebellum. Every year, approximately 20 children in the Netherlands are diagnosed with a medulloblastoma. Most of those children are 5 or 6 years old, but this brain tumor occurs in children of all ages. The tumor can sometimes spread to other parts of the central nervous system.

The brochure entitled Medulloblastoma contains comprehensive information about this disease. The most important information is provided below.

Causes

A medulloblastoma is caused by a developmental error in one of the progenitor cells of the nervous system. Presumably something in the cell's DNA was damaged prior to birth. What causes this happens to happen is unknown.

 

Symptoms

At first, a medulloblastoma produces vague symptoms such as nausea and headaches. Due to the increased pressure in the brain, symptoms such as morning vomiting and balance problems occur at a later point in time. Crossed eyes, poor vision and speech and swallowing difficulties also occur.

How is medulloblastoma diagnosed?

A MRI scan is performed and cerebrospinal fluid is drawn under sedation. In some cases, this is followed by a CT scan.

Treatment

Children with medulloblastoma are treated according to a protocol drawn up by national and international experts. The subtype of medulloblastoma determines the treatment. The treatment also depends on the age of your child and the stage of the disease. In most instances, surgery is the first step in the treatment of medulloblastoma. This is usually followed by radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Young children receive chemotherapy until they are old enough for radiotherapy.

Chance of recovery

Children with a medulloblastoma of a favorable subtype without metastasis stand a good chance of recovery (about 85%). An unfavorable subtype or metastases has a negative impact on the chance of recovery. If much of the tumor tissue remains in place after the operation or if your child is not yet four years old at time of diagnosis, the chance is considerably reduced. Don't be influenced too much by statistics. Every situation and every child is unique.

Questions?

Children with medulloblastoma are treated in the neuro-oncology department.