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What is the expected life span of Childhood Brain and spinal cord cancer tumors

What is the expected life span of Childhood Brain and spinal cord cancer tumors

Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors in Children: Some Introductory Basics

i-2j4LjZrOn average in the United States each year, there are more than 4,000 new diagnoses of childhood brain and spinal cord tumors, making this the second most common type of childhood cancer after leukemia. And on average, the five-year survival rate (meaning the number of children who survive more than five years after the end of treatment) across all types of brain and spinal cord tumors (including both malignant and benign) is very good: 3 out of 4 children diagnosed with a brain tumor will survive longer than five years.

In reality, however, discussing “brain and spinal cord tumors” in a general sense is very nearly impossible. There are a wide variety of different types of brain and spinal cord tumors, each of which is very rare, requires a unique treatment approach, and has its own set of key statistics based on a fairly limited set of data (due to the rarity of each type of tumor). Therefore, while understanding the basics of brain and spinal cord tumors is important, your child’s oncology team will be able to discuss your child’s specific diagnosis, treatment approach, and long-term prognosis based on the details of his or her unique case.

Some of the most common types of brain and spinal cord tumors in children include:

  • Gliomas: About 50% of all brain and spinal cord tumors in children fall into this broad category, which covers any tumor that begins in the glial cells. The most common gliomas include glioblastoma and other types of astrocytomas, brain stem gliomas (10-20% of all brain tumors) including diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPGs), ependymomas (about 5% of all brain and spinal cord tumors in children), and oligodendrocytes (about 1% of all brain and spinal cord tumors).
  • Medulloblastomas: Medulloblastoma is the most common and most easily treated tumor within a broad classification known as primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNETs). PNETs develop from immature neuroectodermal cells in the central nervous system and account for about 20% of all brain and spinal cord tumors in children. Other types of tumors within this classification include pineoblastomas, medulloepitheliomas, ependymoblastomas, and neuroblastomas that develop in the brain or spinal column.

Other, rarer forms of brain and spinal cord tumors in children include:

  • Choroid plexus tumors
  • Craniopharyngiomas
  • Mixed glial and neuronal tumors
  • Germ cell tumors
  • Spinal cord tumors

About Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors: Key Prognosis Statistics

Due to the rarity with which each specific type of brain or spinal cord tumor is diagnosed, we simply do not have enough information to compile accurate statistics on five-year survival rates for every single type of brain or spinal cord tumor. Moreover, thanks to the speed at which medical science is advancing, treatment options for many different types of brain and spinal cord tumors have improved dramatically over the past few decades, making older statistics no longer relevant. So while we can provide general information on the most common types of brain tumors, based on information from the Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States (covering children treated between 1995 and 2010), it is important to note that these statistics are general and can vary widely. Therefore, these statistics do not accurately represent the chances of long-term survival for any one specific child.

The percentages listed below refer to the 5-Year Survival Rate (the percentage of children who survive five years or more after treatment):

  • Philocytic astrocytoma: 95%
  • Oligodendroglioma: 90% – 95%
  • Fibrillary (diffuse) astrocytoma: 80% – 85%
  • Ependymoma (including anaplastic ependymoma: 75%
  • PNETs (including medullablastoma and pineoblastoma): 60% – 65%
  • Anaplastic astrocytoma: 30%
  • Glioblastoma: 20%

About American Childhood Cancer Organization

American Childhood Cancer Organization (ACCO) is a non-profit charity dedicated to helping kids with cancer and their families navigate the difficult journey from cancer diagnosis through survivorship. Internationally, ACCO is the sole U.S. member of Childhood Cancer International (CCI), the largest patient-support organization for childhood cancer in the world. Here in the United States, ACCO promotes the critical importance of ensuring continued funding into new and better treatment protocols for childhood cancer.  And most importantly, ACCO is focused on the children: developing and providing educational tools for children fighting cancer and their families, empowering them in their understanding of childhood cancer and the medical decisions they must make during this difficult journey. All of ACCO’s resources are available free of charge for families coping with childhood cancer.

 

For additional information about childhood cancer or on ACCO, or to order resources for you or your child, please visit our website at www.acco.org.

 

For additional information about childhood cancer or on the ACCO, or to order resources for you or your child, please visit our website at www.acco.org , call 855.858.2226 or visit:

After Treatment – Living as a survivor of Childhood Brain and spinal cord cancer

Treating Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors

life after brain cancerThe brain and central nervous system control every aspect of our body, from its most basic functions such as breathing to significantly more complex functions such as movement and balance. The brain even controls personality and social interactions. So tumors located in the brain or spinal cord, whether they are benign or malignant, can significant impact how our body functions depending on where they grow and how much damage they inflict on healthy brain tissue. Survivorship issues for children with brain or spinal cord tumors often involves coping with symptoms stemming from the tumor itself, as well as from the treatment required to eliminate the tumor.

When discussing both short- and long-term side effects, it is important to understand the types of treatment options currently used to treat tumors in this very sensitive organ. The goal of any treatment plan is to remove the tumor from the body and if possible to prevent it from recurring, as well as to relieve any symptoms caused by the position and the growth of the tumor. In almost all cases, treatment for brain and spinal cord tumors will involve one or more of the following:

  • Surgery: whenever possible, surgery will be used to remove all or as much of the tumor as possible, while minimizing damage to healthy brain tissue
  • Radiation therapy: radiation may be used after surgery to kill any cancerous cells remaining after surgery, or as the main type of treatment if surgery is not appropriate
  • Chemotherapy: drug-based therapies are generally used to target aggressive, fast-growing tumors, to treat children under the age of 3, or for the treatment of certain cancers that have been proven to respond well to chemotherapy

In most cases, especially involving malignant tumors, treatment will involve some combination of all three. The goal is to develop a treatment plan that is unique to your child and to give them the best chance of long-term survival while minimizing the risk of both short- and long-term side effects.

Living as a Survivor of Childhood Brain or Spinal Cord Cancer: Physical Side Effects

Some side effects may result from the growth of the tumor itself within the brain or spinal cord, while other side effects may stem from inescapable damage to the brain during treatment. A child’s brain is growing and developing much more quickly and actively than an adult’s; on the one hand, this can mean that a child’s brain may be able to compensate for damaged tissue, but on the other hand, a child’s brain is also more sensitive to radiation and other forms of treatment so may be more easily damaged.

Some of the most common physical side effects of a brain tumor include:

  • Problems with physical coordination, muscle strength, and balance
  • Issues with speech and communication
  • Vision and/or hearing concerns
  • General intelligence, memory, and learning skills
  • Delayed growth and/or sexual maturation

Once treatment is complete, your child’s oncology team will work together to assess any possible damage to the brain and/or spinal cord and may recommend specific follow-up treatment(s) to cope with these or other side effects. Coping with physical side effects will often involve a range of different specialists, including physical and occupational therapists, ophthalmologists, audiologists, psychologists, and learning specialists.

A key part of successfully treating both short- and long-term side effects is maintaining excellent records of your child’s cancer treatment. These records will help new doctors, both in childhood and into adulthood, understand the entirety of your child’s medical history and make it easier for them to develop a comprehensive treatment plan for future medical concerns. Key pieces of information to compile include:

  • Pathology reports from all biopsies and surgeries
  • Results of all imaging tests (stored digitally)
  • Operative reports summarizing all surgeries
  • Discharge summaries for all hospital stays
  • A comprehensive list of the final doses of all chemotherapy and other drugs
  • Summaries of the doses and fields of all radiation therapies

 

About American Childhood Cancer Organization

American Childhood Cancer Organization (ACCO) is a non-profit charity dedicated to helping kids with cancer and their families navigate the difficult journey from cancer diagnosis through survivorship. Internationally, ACCO is the sole U.S. member of Childhood Cancer International (CCI), the largest patient-support organization for childhood cancer in the world. Here in the United States, ACCO promotes the critical importance of ensuring continued funding into new and better treatment protocols for childhood cancer.  And most importantly, ACCO is focused on the children: developing and providing educational tools for children fighting cancer and their families, empowering them in their understanding of childhood cancer and the medical decisions they must make during this difficult journey. All of ACCO’s resources are available free of charge for families coping with childhood cancer.

 

For additional information about childhood cancer or on the ACCO, or to order resources for you or your child, please visit our website at www.acco.org , call 855.858.2226 or visit:

Action Days 2018

2017_0502St.Baldrick___sFoundation_0315WASHINGTON, D.C. – APRIL 23rd – 24th, 2018

CLICK HERE or the button below to REGISTER:

REGISTER TODAY»

You’re invited to join the American Childhood Cancer Organization and the Alliance for Childhood Cancer for the 7th Annual Childhood Cancer Action Days. This two-day event in Washington brings our community together to advocate for important childhood cancer issues currently before Congress.

Your Voice Matters:
A strong showing of advocates at Action Days 2018 is more crucial than ever. We will be at a critical point in the legislative process on several key issues for children with cancer. Sharing your story in Washington this spring will ensure the voice of children with cancer is heard loud and clear!

Details:

  • Monday, April 23rd: Issues and Advocacy Training at the Washington Marriott at Metro Center Hotel (775 12th St NW, Washington, DC 20005)
  • Tuesday, April 24th: Kick-off breakfast and pre-scheduled meetings with Members of Congress and their staff on Capitol Hill
  • Registration is now open! A registration fee of $50 per family will help cover expenses, including breakfast and lunch on training day for all attendees. A limited number of scholarships will be available (see registration page). Transportation to/from Childhood Cancer Action Days is the responsibility of those attending.

Hotel Reservations:
The Alliance has a room block ($209/night) at the Washington Marriott at Metro Center Hotel for the nights of Sunday, April 22, Monday, April 23rd and Tuesday, April 24th. You may make reservations by calling 1-800-393-2510 and mentioning “Childhood Cancer Action Days”; or by using the online booking link. We recommend you reserve your room early as the room block may reach capacity!

RESERVATIONS MUST BE MADE BY MARCH 23RD – CLICK HERE

Questions? Please contact alliance@asco.org.

About the Alliance for Childhood Cancer:
Founded in 2001, the Alliance for Childhood Cancer is a forum of over thirty national patient advocacy groups, and medical and scientific organizations. These organizations meet regularly in Washington, DC to share ideas and concerns and work collaboratively to advance policies leading to improved research, public education, and diagnosis, treatment, supportive care and survivorship for children and adolescents with cancer. Read More…

On behalf of the American Childhood Cancer Organization and the Alliance for Childhood Cancer, we look forward to seeing you in Washington, DC in April.