Pediatric Brain Cancer Overview
Brain tumors account for 15% of pediatric cancers. Since the brain controls learning, memory, senses (hearing, visual, smell, taste, touch), emotions, muscles, organs, and blood vessels, the presentation of symptoms varies accordingly.
Treatment of pediatric brain tumors is more complex than is the treatment of some of the other cancers. Surgery to remove the tumor is not always possible because it may be inaccessible or because surgery would damage parts of the brain necessary for the functioning of the mind and/or body. Inoperable areas of the brain include: brain stem, thalamus, motor area, and deep areas of gray matter.
Even a benign tumor in the brain can be life threatening. Another reason malignant brain tumors can be difficult to treat is because a blood-brain barrier exists which prevents some chemicals from entering the brain and reaching the tumor. Therefore, the prognosis depends not only on the type, grade, and size of the tumor, but on its location in the brain.
The Wylie’s Day Foundation is driven by these facts and remains committed to our mission: find a cure for brain tumors by funding cutting edge research, support child life activities in leading PBTC hospitals, and educate the public about the prevalence and devastating impact of this disease.
Pediatric Brain Cancer Facts
Brain tumors are the leading cause of solid tumor cancer death in children under the age of 20, now surpassing acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Approximately 4200 new Central Nervous System cancers are diagnosed in the US each year. This number is growing. They are the second leading cause of cancer death in male adults ages 20-29 and the fifth leading cause of cancer death in female adults ages 20-39 )
Each year more than 200,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with a primary or metastatic brain tumor. Primary brain tumors comprise approximately 40,0000 of these diagnoses.
Metastatic brain tumors, cancer that spreads from other parts of the body to the brain, are the most common types of brain tumors. They occur in 10-15% of people with cancer. Primary brain tumors generally do not metastasize to other parts of the body.
There are over 130 different types of brain tumors, which make effective treatment complicated. They can be malignant or non-malignant (benign), and in either case, can be just as injurious or life threatening. At present, the standard treatments for brain tumors include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. These may be used either individually or in combination.
Brain tumors in children are different from those in adults, and consequently, require specific research and are treated differently. As many as 69% of children will survive, but they are often left with long-term side effects from treatments.
There are currently no known causes of brain tumors, however, epidemiological studies are ongoing. Complete and accurate data on all primary brain tumors is needed to provide the foundation for investigations of its causes and research leading to improved diagnosis and treatment.
Brain tumors have no socio-economic boundaries and do not discriminate among gender or ethnicity.
At this time, brain tumor research is under funded and the public remains unaware of the magnitude of this disease. The cure rate for most brain tumors is significantly lower than that for many other types of cancer. Research that focuses specifically on pediatric brain tumors is crucial to saving children’s lives and improving survivors quality of life.
Pediatric Brain Cancer Links
Clinical Trials and Treatments http://wyliesday.org/wyliesdaylinks%202.html
Brain Tumor Statistics http://wyliesday.org/wyliesdaylinks%205.html
General Information/Resources for PBT
Carcinogens, Toxins, and Environmental Concerns