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What is a Brain Stem Glioma

Brain stem gliomas are tumors that start from glial cells within the brain stem.

Tumor Photo from June 29th MRIThese tumors may interfere with the function of cranial nerves, which originate in the brain stem. Eye movements, facial movements, and swallowing may be affected. These tumors represent 10 – 15 percent of childhood brain tumors and occur most frequently in children over ten years old. From what we have found it’s not worth the potential damage to the brain or brain stem to bother with taking a biopsy. Since the majority are Primary Brain tumors and are benign. These are still considered a form of cancer.

In th scan of Ana’s MRI you can see in the circled areas where the tumor generally sits, of course it’s not always the same size or shape for every child.

The treatment does vary from doctor to doctor, however one thing is very common most if not all patients with a Brain Stem Glioma go on Dexamethasone.  Which acts to take pressure of the area where the tumor is located. It’s not always effective for everyone who takes it.

Information on Gliomas from Cedars-Sinai