The number one predictor of how a child will do in an operation is not based on where the tumor is, where it's located or how big it is. The number one predictor is how experienced the neurosurgeon is in doing that operation in children.
Mark Kieran, MD, PhD, director of Children's Pediatric Brain Tumors Program
We understand how scary and overwhelming a diagnosis of a brain tumor can be. Right now, you probably have a lot of questions. What is the very best treatment for my child? What do we do next? We’ve provided answers to many questions like these in the following pages, and our expert pediatric subspecialists can explain your child’s condition fully when you meet with us.
Here’s what you need to know about this kind of brain tumor.
- Medulloblastomas are tumors located in the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls balance and other complex motor functions.
- They grow most often in the central part of the cerebellum, and less frequently in the outer parts of the cerebellum.
- Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant (cancerous) central nervous system tumor in children. It accounts for 15 to 20 percent of all pediatric brain tumors.
- Medulloblastomas occur most commonly in children between ages of 3 and 8 but can be seen in children and adults of any age.
- There are about 500 cases of medulloblastoma diagnosed each year in the United States.
- The outcome for children with medulloblastoma has improved dramatically over the past several decades. However, the outcomes in infants remain poor.
How Dana-Farber/Children’s Hospital Cancer Center approaches medulloblastoma
Children diagnosed with medulloblastoma are treated through Dana-Farber/Children’s Hospital Cancer Center, New England’s largest and most active pediatric brain tumor treatment center.
Our team provides a unique degree of specialization across many disciplines, which translates into advanced treatment options for patients with medulloblastoma and other brain tumors. We offer:
- technological advances such as the intra-operative MRI, which allows our pediatric neurosurgeons to obtain an MRI immediately in the operating room before the operation is complete and remove as much of the tumor as possible
- expert diagnosis and consultation by neuropathologists who use advanced molecular diagnostic testing
- access to unique Phase I clinical trials, from our own investigators, the Children’s Oncology Group and the Pediatric Oncology Experimental Therapeutics Consortium
As you read further, you’ll find general information about medulloblastoma. If you would like to view summary information about brain tumors first, see the overview on brain tumors.
Pediatric Brain Tumors Program
Learn more about our Pediatric Brain Tumors Program, where we care for children with benign and malignant brain and spinal tumors.
Listen to an expert
Neurologists at Children’s work closely with neurosurgeons if surgery has been identified as the best treatment option. Watch these short, informative interview clips with Frank Duffy, MD, as he discusses this collaboration, along with the diagnosis of brain tumors and the mapping of critical brain tissues:
Reviewed by Susan Chi, MD
© Children’s Hospital Boston; posted in 2011