Childhood Brain Stem Glioma

Childhood brain stem glioma is a disease in which benign or malignant cells form in the tissues of the brain stem. Gliomas are tumors formed from glial cells that hold nerve cells in place, bring food and oxygen to them, and help protect them from diseases, such as infection.

The brain stem is the part of the brain connected to the spinal cord and is the part of the brain that controls breathing, heart rate, and the nerves and muscles used in seeing, hearing, walking, talking, and eating.

Brain tumors are the third most common type of cancer in children. The cause of most childhood brain tumors is unknown. There are two types of brain stem gliomas in children, diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) or a focal or low-grade glioma.

Benign brain tumors grow and press on nearby areas of the brain, but rarely spread into other tissues. Malignant brain tumors are likely to grow quickly and spread into other brain tissue. When a tumor grows into or presses on an area of the brain, it may stop that part of the brain from working the way it should. Both benign and malignant brain tumors can cause signs and symptoms and need treatment.

Childhood Brain Stem Glioma Treatment (PDQ®)

Source: National Cancer Institute