Childhood brain and spinal tumours

What is a childhood brain or spinal cord tumour?

A brain tumour starts in the cells of the brain. A spinal cord tumour starts in the cells of the spinal cord. The brain and spinal cord make up the central nervous system (CNS).

Risks for childhood brain and spinal cord tumours

Risks for childhood brain and spinal cord cancer are radiation and some genetic conditions. Learn about childhood brain and spinal cord cancer risk.

Symptoms of childhood brain and spinal cord tumours

Symptoms for childhood brain and spinal cord cancer include seizures, headache and nausea. Learn about symptoms of childhood brain and spinal cord cancer.

Diagnosis of childhood brain and spinal cord tumours

Tests to diagnose childhood brain and spinal cord cancer, such as MRIs, are done when symptoms are present. Learn about diagnosing childhood brain cancer.

Grading childhood brain and spinal cord tumours

Grading is a way to classify brain and spinal cord cancer cells based on their appearance when viewed under a microscope. A grade is given based on how the cancer cells look and behave compared to normal cells (differentiation). This can give the healthcare team an idea of how quickly the cancer may be growing and how likely it is to spread.

Staging childhood brain and spinal cord tumours

Staging is a way to describe or classify a cancer based on the how much cancer there is in the body. Because most central nervous system (CNS) tumours do not spread, there is no standard staging system for childhood brain and spinal cord cancer.

If childhood brain and spinal cord tumours spread

Cancer cells have the potential to spread from the brain and spinal cord to other parts of the body where they can grow into new tumours. This process is called metastasis. The tumours are called metastasis (singular) or metastases (plural). Metastases are also called secondary tumours.

Prognosis and survival for childhood brain and spinal cord tumours

Children with brain and spinal cord cancer and their parents may have questions about their prognosis and survival. Prognosis and survival depend on many factors. Only a doctor familiar with a child's medical history, type of cancer, stage, characteristics of the cancer, treatment, and response to treatment can put all of this information together with survival statistics to arrive at a prognosis.

Treatments for childhood brain and spinal cord tumours

Treatments for childhood brain and spinal cord cancer include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Learn about treatment plans and options.

Supportive care

Supportive care is an important part of cancer care. It helps children and their families meet the physical, emotional and spiritual challenges of cancer. It helps improve the quality of life of children living with cancer. It can help children to cope with cancer and its treatment.

Childhood brain and spinal cord tumour statistics

Brain and spinal tumours are the second most common type of cancer in Canadian children. Learn about childhood brain and spinal cancer statistics.