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Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center

Contact the Glioma Program

Cervico Medullary Astrocytoma in Children

  • Overview

    A cervico-medullary low-grade glioma (also called a cervico-medullary low-grade astrocytoma) is a tumor that arises from a type of cell of the central nervous system called a glial cell.

    • Cervico-medullary low-grade gliomas originate from a specific type of glial cell known as an astrocyte.
    • Astrocytes make up the supportive network of the brain, and are named for their star-like appearance.
    • Cervico-medullary low-grade gliomas are astrocytomas that arise from the junction of the brain and spinal cord.

    How Dana-Farber/Children’s Hospital Cancer Center approaches cervico-medullary low-grade glioma

    We understand that you may have a lot of questions when your child is diagnosed with acute cervico-medullary low-grade glioma.

    • Is it painful?
    • Does my child need to be hospitalized?
    • How will it affect my child long term?
    • What do we do next?

    We’ve tried to provide some answers to those questions in the following pages, and our experts can explain your child’s condition fully. 

    Also, we hold a weekly brain tumor clinic for newly diagnosed patients currently receiving treatment. Each time you come for an appointment, you meet with every specialist on your child’s team: your pediatric neuro-oncologist, neurologist, neurosurgeon, endocrinologist, psycho-oncologist and School liaison.

    Dana-Farber/Children’s Hospital Cancer Center’s Pediatric Brain Tumor Program offers the following services.

    • Access to high-tech resources, like the intra-operative MRI, which allows our pediatric neurosurgeons to visualize the tumor as they operate with MRI scans. This means they can remove as much of the tumor as possible, and sometimes eliminate additional surgeries.
    • Expert neuropathological review, using advanced molecular diagnostic testing, to identify your child’s exact type of tumor. This information helps predict which treatments are more likely to work.
    • Access to unique Phase I clinical trials, from our own investigators, the Children’s Oncology Group and the Pediatric Oncology Experimental Therapeutics Investigators Consortium. Studies offer treatment options beyond standard therapy.
    • Ongoing care from pediatric neurologists familiar with the early symptoms and side effects of brain tumors and their treatments.
    • Access to one of the nation’s few dedicated pediatric brain tumor survivorship programs. This weekly clinic offers ongoing care to manage late effects caused by your child’s tumor or the treatment they received.
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.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO