What is medulloblastoma?
Medulloblastoma, also known as cerebellar primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PNET), is a form of cancerous tumor that forms in the posterior fossa region of the brain. They then tend to spread to other areas of the brain and spinal cord.
It is a common brain tumor in children, accounting for 20% of childhood brain tumors. 250 to 500 children are diagnosed with medulloblastoma annually. It is the most common in males under the age of 16.
What are the symptoms of medulloblastoma?
- Issues with handwriting
- Visual problems
After the tumors spread to the spinal cord, symptoms may progress to back pain, issues with walking, and problems with the control of bladder and bowel function.
What causes medulloblastoma?
There is no known cause for medulloblastomas. In a very small percentage of cases, an inherited gene is identified that is linked to the tumor.
How is medulloblastoma diagnosed?
Doctors will begin with a physical exam and finding of characteristic symptoms. This will be followed by tests, such as neurological exams, imaging tests, biopsies, and lumbar punctures.
What are the treatments for medulloblastoma?
Treatment for this tumor typically begins with surgery, which aims to remove as much of the tumor as possible. This procedure is followed by either radiation or chemotherapy.