Brain Stem Glioma
By : Trenton Burford
About Brain Stem Glioma
This type of tumor spreads freely throughout the pons and often spreads to the mid brain, the medulla, or nearby parts of the brain. These tend to be high-grade tumors; they are very aggressive and contain abnormal-looking cells.About 20% of brain stem tumors are focal, that means they occur in one area or are contained within a small portion of the brain stem. They usually occur in the mid brain or medulla, rather than the pons. These are usually benign or low-grade tumors; they are less aggressive and the tumor cells look fairly normal.
Doctors use diagnostic tests to find out the tumor's stage, so staging may not be complete until all of the tests are finished. Knowing the stage helps the doctor to decide what kind of treatment is best and can help predict a patient's prognosis, which is the chance of recovery. There are different stage descriptions for different types of tumors.
Doctors and researchers don’t know what causes most childhood tumors, including brain stem glioma. There is some evidence that genetic factors may play a role in a small percentage of brain stem gliomas. Genetic conditions associated with a higher risk of developing a CNS tumor include Li-Fraumeni syndrome, neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, and Turcot syndrome.