Brain Stem Tumor

About Brain Stem Tumor

Brain tumors are the most common type of tumors in children and adolescents. Approximately 4,000 children in the US are diagnosed with primary brain tumors each year.  A brain stem tumor is a type of cancer that is located in a tumor within your brain stem. Most types of the brain stem tumor are not easily cured by surgery or treatment.  Brain stem tumor cancer can be treated but does have a tendency to recur even after treatment. Sometimes it is the treatment itself that can cause damage to the necessary life functions of the brain.  Brain Stem Tumors are a very rare type of cancer and are usually found mainly in infants and young children although it has been found in some older patients but that is rare, Most of brain tumors have problems of genes involved in controlling the cell cycle, causing an abundance of cell growth.

This is a picture of a brain tumor. The orange dot is the brain tumor and it is located within the brain stem.  


Some of the symptoms of brain stem tumors can be dull headaches, vomiting, dizziness, seizures, and difficulty when walking or speaking.  Weakness, paralyzation in part of the body,  or changes in hearing, vision, touch, taste, and smell are also symptoms. Changes in personal thoughts, an abnormal pulse, and breathing rate may also be symptoms.  If you have any of these symptoms you should see a doctor right away and seek treatment.  

Possible Causes

Some causes of brain stem tumors and cancer are when the DNA is in the wrong place of the body.  But mainly the causes of brain stem tumors are still unknown which makes treatment more difficult and a cure is also yet to be found.  When they find out more about the causes through research, a cure is also much more likely to be found.

Cancer Growth

Stages of Brain Stem Tumors

Brain stem cancer generally starts with dizziness and headaches and then as more cancer cells are formed the symptoms become more apparent and pronounced. The increase in number of cancer cells causes more severe symptoms and the patient will usually seek treatment of some kind. The cancer sometimes ends with leukemia and may require rehabilitation. Sometimes the cancer spreads from a different part in the body and that is called metastasis. Metastatic cancer is a secondary cancer that has grown and spread from another location in the body that is also afflicted with cancer.


Some treatments are rehabilitation and chemotherapy. Chemotherapy involves pumping medicines directly into the blood stream.  These medicines are very strong and are poisonous to the cells in the body and can sometimes kill the cancer cells.  In some of the cancers they can do radiation surgery which involves using radiation to remove the tumors from the body when it is possible to do safely without too much damage to the brain.

Survival Rates

The survival rate of a brain stem tumor is 37%  at one year, 20% at two years, and 13% at three years.  Survival is greatest when the cancer is caught early and decreases with time.  The earlier the tumor is found, the smaller it may be and then greater the chance of a safe removal also aids in survival. When brain stem cancer is in remission it can often start growing again.

If you have cancer then do your best and listen to your doctor. Seek treatment early and quickly to increase the likelihood of a positive outcome. Some treatments are harsh and you will need support from family and friends as you undergo them. Always look on the positive side and never give up.  

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