Thalamic or hypothalamic astrocytoma
The number one predictor of how a child will do in an operation is not based on where the tumor is or how big it is. The number one predictor is how experienced the neurosurgeon is in doing that operation in children.
Mark Kieran, MD, PhD, director of the Pediatric Brain Tumors Program
Having a tumor in the brain is always a very serious matter, and a thalamic or hypothalamic astrocytoma is no exception. A thalamic/hypothalamic astrocytoma is a low-grade brain tumor that arises in either the thalamus, the hypothalamus or both.
Today, most children and adolescents diagnosed with brain tumors survive into adulthood. Many of them face physical, psychological, social and intellectual challenges related to their treatment, and need ongoing care to help with school and with skills they will use throughout adulthood.
As you read on, you’ll find detailed information about thalamic/hypothalamic astrocytomas. If you would like to read more general information about brain tumors first, see our overview on brain tumors.
The thalamus is responsible for identification of sensation, such as temperature, pain and touch. It is also the relay center for movement.
The hypothalamus—located just below the thalamus—is responsible for hormone functioning, body temperature, sleep and appetite. It’s found just below the thalamus.
An astrocytoma may invade both the thalamus and hypothalamus, or may involve only one.
“Low-grade” means that they are slow-growing and less aggressive than high-grade (malignant) tumors. These generally have a higher chance of cure, too.
These tumors may also be called “suprasellar astrocytomas.”
- Since the thalamus and hypothalamus are found in deep-lying central areas of the brain, surgery is often limited.
How Dana-Farber/Children’s Hospital Cancer Center approaches thalamic/hypothalamic astrocytomas
If your child is cared for at Children’s, he will be seen through Dana-Farber/Children’s Hospital Cancer Center, an integrated pediatric oncology program through Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Children’s Hospital Boston that provides—in one specialized program—all the services of both a leading cancer center and a pediatric hospital.
DF/CHCC is home to the world’s largest pediatric low-grade glioma program, the Pediatric Low-Grade Astrocytoma (PLGA) Research Program. Through the PLGA Program, we conduct advanced research on the genetic and molecular causes of low-grade glioma.
After treatment, your child will receive expert follow-up care through the Stop & Shop Neuro-Oncology Outcomes Clinic at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where he will be able to meet with his neurosurgeon, radiation oncologist, pediatric neuro-oncologist and neurologists at the same follow-up visit.
Our pediatric brain tumor survivorship clinic is held weekly.
In addition to meeting with your pediatric neuro-oncologists, neurologist and neurosurgeon, your child may also see one of our endocrinologists or alternative/complementary therapy specialists.
School liaisons and psychosocial personnel from the pediatric brain tumor team are also available.
If your child needs rehabilitation, he may also meet with speech, physical and occupational therapists during and after treatments.
|Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is one of nine institutes in the nation belonging to the Pediatric Oncology Experimental Therapeutic Investigators Consortium. The consortium is dedicated to the development of new and innovative treatments for children with newly diagnosed as well as progressive or recurrent thalamic or hypothalamic astrocytomas and other brain tumors. We are also home to the world’s largest pediatric low-grade astrocytoma research program and the Department of Defense Neurofibromatosis Clinical Trial Consortium.|
Reviewed by Mark Kieran, MD, PhD
© Children’s Hospital Boston, 2010