Cerebellar low-grade astrocytomas
The number one predictor of how a child will do in an operation is not based on where the tumor is 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, Pediatric Brain Tumors Program
Having a tumor in the brain is always a very serious matter, and a cerebellar low-grade astrocytoma is no exception. Cerebellar low-grade astrocytomas are tumors that arise in the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls balance and coordination.
Most children and adolescents diagnosed with brain tumors survive into adulthood. Many of them face physical, psychological, social and intellectual challenges related to their treatment, and require ongoing care to help with school and with skills they will use throughout adulthood.
As you read on, you’ll find detailed information about cerebellar low-grade astrocytomas. If you would like to read more general information about brain tumors first, see our overview on brain tumors.
A “low-grade” tumor means that it’s slow-growing and less aggressive than high-grade (malignant) tumors. These generally have a higher chance of cure, too.
Astrocytomas are a type of glioma, so you might also hear these tumors referred to as “low-grade cerebellar gliomas.”
Brain tumors in children are relatively rare, occurring in only five of every 100,000 children. Low-grade cerebellar astrocytomas account for 10 to 20 percent of all childhood brain tumors.
They tend to occur before a child is age 10 and are most common among kids between ages 6 and 9.
These tumors most often have no known cause.
- Today, more than three quarters of all children diagnosed with this tumor will be cured of the disease.
How Dana-Farber/Children’s Hospital Cancer Center approaches low-grade cerebellar astrocytomas
If your child is cared for at Children’s, he will be seen through Dana-Farber/Children’s Hospital Cancer Center, an integrated pediatric oncology program through Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Children’s Hospital Boston that provides—in one specialized program—all the services of both a leading cancer center and a pediatric hospital.
DF/CHCC is home to the world’s largest pediatric low-grade glioma program, the Pediatric Low-Grade Astrocytoma (PLGA) Research Program. Through this program, we conduct advanced research on the causes and treatment of low-grade gliomas.
After treatment, your child will receive expert follow-up care through the Stop and Shop Neuro-Oncology Outcomes Clinic at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where he will be able to meet with his neurosurgeon, radiation oncologist, pediatric neuro-oncologist and neurologists at the same follow-up visit.
Our pediatric brain tumor survivorship clinic is held weekly.
In addition to meeting with your pediatric neuro-oncologists, neurologist and neurosurgeon, your child may also see one of our endocrinologists or alternative/complementary therapy specialists.
School liaisons and psychosocial personnel from the pediatric brain tumor team are also available.
- If your child needs rehabilitation, they may also meet with speech, physical and occupational therapists during and after treatments.
|Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is one of nine institutes in the nation belonging to the Pediatric Oncology Experimental Therapeutic Investigators Consortium. The consortium is dedicated to the development of new and innovative treatments for children with newly diagnosed as well as progressive or recurrent cerebellar astrocytomas and other brain tumors. We are also home to the world’s largest pediatric low-grade astrocytoma research program and the Department of Defense Neurofibromatosis Clinical Trial Consortium.|
Reviewed by Mark Kieran, MD, PhD
© Children’s Hospital Boston, 2010