KidsMD Health Topics

Brain Tumors in Children

  • Having a tumor in the brain is always a very serious matter, but today, more than 50 percent of all children diagnosed with a pediatric brain tumor will be cured of the disease.

    Tumors are masses of abnormal cells that can appear in all parts of the body and grow out of control. Tumors in the brain can be very complicated to treat because of the delicate surrounding tissue.

    While all pediatric brain tumors are life-threatening, most children and adolescents with this diagnosis survive into adulthood. Many of them face physical, psychological, social and intellectual challenges related to their treatment, and they require ongoing care to help with school and other skills they will use throughout adulthood.

    • Brain tumors in children are relatively rare, occurring in only five of every 100,000 children.
    • About 2,200 children and adolescents in the United States are diagnosed with a brain tumor each year.
    • Brain tumors are commonly treated with surgery and/or other therapies including chemotherapy and radiation.

    See the In-Depth section to learn more about pediatric brain tumors, or visit the Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s website to learn about different types of childhood brain tumors we treat.

    How Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center approaches pediatric brain tumors

    If your child is cared for at Boston Children’s, he’ll be seen through Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, an integrated pediatric oncology program through Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children’s Hospital that provides—in one specialized program—all the services of both a leading cancer center and a pediatric hospital.

    Our pediatric neurosurgical, neurology, and neuro-oncology specialists at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center offer:

    • technological advances, such as the intra-operative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which allow our pediatric neurosurgeons to "see" the tumor as they operate with MRI scans.  This allows them to remove as much of the tumor as possible.
    • treatment with the best standard of care, including neurosurgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
    • access to unique Phase I clinical trials run by our own investigators, Boston Children's Oncology Group, Department of Defense and Pediatric Oncology Experimental Therapeutics Consortium.

    Reviewed by Michael Scott, MD
    © Boston Children’s Hospital, 2013

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The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
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