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Brain Tumors in Children

Tag Archives: childhood cancer

Brain tumors in children make up about 15% of pediatric cancers. They are the second most common cancer in children, after childhood leukemias.

The most common brain tumor in children is medulloblastoma. There are many other that affect children, including astrocytomas, gliomas, ependymomas, germinomas and more.Brain Tumor child

Symptoms of Brain Tumors in Children

The symptoms of brain tumors in children vary greatly and depend on the size of the tumor and where it is located. They can include:

  • Seizures
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Problems with walking or balance
  • Changes in personality
  • Aggression and irritability
  • Weakness or lack of energy 
  • Learning difficulties
  • Memory loss
  • Problems with hearing, vision and other senses
  • Pain, especially back pain
  • Headaches, especially early in the morning or in the middle of the night

Because these symptoms are so variable and can be caused by many other things, brain tumors are often misdiagnosed at first, and it can take a long time for the right tests to be done to discover and identify the brain tumor.

Prognosis for Children with Brain Tumors

The prognosis for children with brain tumors depends on the type of tumor, its grade (a number that indicates how abnormal the cancer cells are and how fast they are likely to grow and spread), its size and its location.

For some tumors, especially those that can easily be removed by surgery, the prognosis is good. There are other tumors that very few children, or none at all, have ever survived.

Even when children do survive, they are often left with lifelong effects from the tumor and its treatment, including learning difficulties, growth problems, paralysis and more.

Treatment for Brain Tumors in Children

Like the prognosis, the treatment of brain tumors depends on the type, grade, size and location of the tumor. Treatment often involves a combination of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.

Treatment for brain tumors is challenging because the brain is a crucial and highly sensitive organ, and it’s difficult to target treatment at the tumor without harming important parts of the brain.

Removing the brain tumor by surgery is ideal, but not always possible. Sometimes the tumor is too widespread and mixed with other healthy tissue, and sometimes surgeons won’t be able to get to the tumor without damaging other critical parts of the brain.

It’s also very difficult to get chemotherapy to reach the tumor because of the blood-brain barrier, a layer of cells that protect the brain from anything foreign — including most drugs — in the blood. 

Because treatment options are limited, some parents choose to enroll their children in clinical trials.

Naomi’s Story

Naomi was just a normal 8-year-old girl until one day she collapsed in school and couldn’t remember her name. After several trips to the hospital, her parents finally got the diagnosis they never could have fathomed: stage 4 pinealoblastoma, a brain tumor of the pineal gland. It had already spread to her spine.

Naomi’s treatment plan is tough: she’s already had four brain surgeries, and she’s undergoing chemotherapy and 30 proton radiation treatments.

Naomi’s a little girl with a big heart, and she keeps her spirits up by helping the other children in the hospital. Last year, she gave away her Halloween candy to kids who couldn’t go trick-or-treating, and now she’s starting a teddy bear drive.

You can help kids like Naomi by making a donation to the American Childhood Cancer Organization. Your gift helps provide educational resources and support programs for children with cancer, survivors, and their families, as well as raise awareness about childhood cancer and the need for more research.

Donate

 

Meet Molly, a 19-year-old currently battling stage 3 anaplastic ependymoma. This warrior is currently a freshman at the University of North Carolina Greensboro studying musical theater. grh molly

A week before leaving for college, Molly experienced debilitating headaches. She went to the emergency room and was sent home with benadryl and a migraine diagnosis. After being asleep for 40 hours straight,  Molly had an MRI which revealed a tennis ball size tumor. On August 15, 2019, Molly was diagnosed with stage 3 anaplastic ependymoma. That same day she was meant to move into her college dorm. Her mom said it was a complete shock, while Molly was just worried about going to school.

Treatment began almost immediately with a total resection of the brain to remove the tennis ball tumor followed by months of rehab and seven weeks of proton therapy.  In January she had her first post op MRI and will keep having scans until officially cleared.

Music has been instrumental in Molly’s recovery. Three weeks after surgery, she danced for physical therapy. Within six weeks, she was on stage performing at a benefit. She wants people affected by cancer to “let yourself have bad days but know that you are strong enough to have good days too. Let people envelope you in love, because you aren’t doing this alone.”

unnamedMolly is an advocate for childhood cancer and has made some very exciting public appearances. She sang in front of 20,000 people at the Hockey Fights Cancer Night at the Blue Jackets and raised awareness at the Governor’s Mansion. In addition, she helps to raise awareness for pediatric cancer research by committing to ride a bike for 100 miles with her sisters.

Mighty Molly has been determined since day one of her diagnosis. She is a performer, singer and dreamer. She hopes to be on Broadway or a cruise ship to entertain the masses. Only six kids were chosen at UNCG for her musical theater and the spot was saved for her when she was unable to attend her first semester. Help ACCO send well wishes to Molly and her family.

To learn more about childhood cancer: https://www.acco.org/blog/childhood-brain-tumors-staging-and-prognosis-factors/

To donate because kids can’t fight cancer alone: https://www.acco.org/donate/

To nominate your Gold Ribbon Hero: https://www.acco.org/gold-ribbon-heroes/

#childhoodcancer #childhoodcancerawareness #awareness #goldribbonhero #themightymolly

 

Meet Lilliana, a survivor of Burkitt’s lymphoma!grh lilliana  

Lilli loves to draw and paint, and is currently looking at colleges to pursue a career as a social worker.

Lilli was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at the age of 13 on September 13, 2013 and was understandably scared and upset. Shortly after her initial diagnosis, the family got a call saying it was much more serious saying they needed to pack their bags for a two week stay in the hospital. Lilli was diagnosed with stage 4 Burkitt’s lymphoma.

Treatment was intense for Lilli, she endured seven long months of chemotherapy and spinal taps. She had a port placed in her chest and shortly after had to have it removed due to a severe infection. “I faced many challenges during my treatment both physical and mental but during the whole time I never let myself get a bad attitude about any of it.

“Personally, as a 13-year-old girl, my biggest trouble was feeling confident without my hair. During that time, I did not feel pretty and the only pretty thing about myself was my hair; but, I overcame it and learned that I was beautiful no matter what” said Lilli.

On April 8, 2014 Lilli was cleared for remission and in June of 2019 she was declared out of remission! She is now 19 and attends the survivorship clinic at Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital for check ups at least once a year. Please join ACCO in sending Lilli well wishes in her future endeavors.

Lilli was featured in a Buzzfeed article about her journey. Read her firsthand story here: https://www.buzzfeed.com/lillianabailey99/childhood-cancer-gmzl5dpr8
Learn more about childhood cancer here: https://www.acco.org/types-of-childhood-cancer/

Donate to help kids like Lilli fight cancer: https://www.acco.org/donate/

 

GRH_ Natalie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet Natalie, a 12 year old aspiring astronaut who wants to become the first woman to walk on the moon! This courageous and determined little girl is a wilm’s tumor survivor!

At three years of age, Natalie was diagnosed with a bilateral Wilm’s tumor. Symptoms started with a swollen stomach and developed into vomiting and constipation.  Her pediatrician ordered an x-ray of her abdomen and initially said it was stool in the images. As a precaution, labs were drawn which came back showing Natalie was severely anemic. She was sent home and ended up in the Cincinnati Children’s ER that night. The family was in the ultrasound room for more than an hour before receiving the diagnosis.

Natalie was immediately admitted into the ICU and chemo started within a few days. A month later Natalie was rushed into emergency surgery in septic shock due to complications and as a result, the tumor and her right kidney were removed. After two months in the hospital, Natalie was released. Four months after the initial diagnosis, Natalie had surgery to help salvage her left kidney however doctors had to remove it and place her on dialysis. Over the next year, she was put under daily chemo and dialysis treatments. In October of 2012, Natalie received a life saving kidney transplant from a family member.

Today, Natalie is a normal 12 year old who loves spending time with family, drawing and participating in drama club. She was officially cured in October 2016 and is very thankful to be a survivor. She still has to go in for labs and doctors visits, but according to her mom Tracy, “she handles all of that like the pro she is.”

Please join ACCO in sending well wishes to the young astronaut to-be, Natalie!

For more information about Wilm’s tumors, please visit: https://www.acco.org/wilms-tumor-and-other-childhood-kidney-tumors/

To nominate your Gold Ribbon Hero: https://www.acco.org/gold-ribbon-heroes/

To donate to help kids like Natalie: https://www.acco.org/donate/

Meet Naomi, a kind-hearted little girl who loves unicorns and helping people. Naomi is currently on treatment battling Pinealoblastoma, a subtype of a brain tumor and spinal cord tumor. grh naomi

Red flags started to arise after Naomi collapsed in school; she didn’t even know her name. Naomi visited the emergency room several times before doctors finally took a closer look. They found a mass in her pineal region and immediately sent her to Children’s in Cincinnati. On October 3rd, Naomi and her parents were given the diagnosis of stage four pineoblastoma with metastasis in the spine.  “We got the MRI results and they took us in a big room. It took my breath. I couldn’t believe it. All I wanted to do was go grab her and hold her. We were lost” her father, Kenneth, remembers.

The treatment plan for Naomi is rigorous consisting of 30 proton radiation treatments and six months of chemotherapy. October of 2019, Naomi had four brain surgeries and doctors told the family that if they got all of the cancer and it comes back, there is nothing they can do.

Naomi is a kind soul. While in the hospital, she bagged up her Halloween candy and passed it to the children that didn’t get to go trick or treating. She is working to start a teddy bear drive to donate to the hospital. She is currently undergoing chemotherapy for the next few months. Please help ACCO by sending her well wishes!

Follow Naomi’s story here: https://www.facebook.com/naomisfight/

To learn more about childhood cancer visit: https://www.acco.org/blog/childhood-brain-tumor-cancers-detection-and-diagnosis/

To donate to help kids with cancer: https://www.acco.org/donate/

 

Meet Frank “Sal,” a 16-year-old sports enthusiast and Lumineers fan. At the age of 14, Sal was diagnosed with germ cell testicular cancer and is currently in remission! IMG_3438

Sal was complaining of a swollen testicle after a bike accident and his parents took him into the doctor’s to check it out. Instead, they were sent straight to the emergency room after the doctor suspected it might be ruptured. Within ten minutes, the doctor informed Sal and his parents that it was testicular cancer. Initial impressions were scared and upset but Sal was determined to beat it.

His treatment was accelerated by receiving a total of 28 chemotherapy treatments. The treatments were rigorous; both in and outpatient and once the initial 24 treatments were complete, they were sent for four additional outpatient treatments. “He went through treatments like a champ, now he can help other children to see that they can get back to normal,” his mother, Elizabeth said. During his journey, Sal had abdominal surgery to remove a mass from his kidney where his cancer had spread.

Elizabeth remembers, “I was diagnosed two years ago with breast cancer and I am currently 1.5 years in remission. I thought I handled my diagnosis and treatments like a pro until I watched my son go through this. He blew me away. He never complained, sat in the hospital for six days in a row, 24 treatments over seven weeks and still smiled for pictures. When he lost his hair, I cried, not him. He has been unbelievably strong through this.”Sal

During treatment, Sal was not able to join the football team, however he has joined the track team and already earned second place in a conference for his long jump. According to his mom, “Frank is the most giving kid, he plans to advocate that you can make it and do bigger and greater things even when you feel like rock bottom.”

 

To learn more about childhood cancer: https://www.acco.org

To donate to help kids with cancer: https://www.acco.org/donate/

As a new partner member of the Council of State Governments, ACCO’s #WhyNotKids State Advocacy Initiative is highlighted in an article in Capitol Ideas detailing our leadership and solutions for overcoming the disparity between adult and #childhoodcancer research funding. Capitol Ideas is a magazine of CSG sharing ideas for model legislation and top priorities for states across the nation. Special thanks to CSG for featuring ACCO. Read the full magazine hereScreen Shot 2020-01-28 at 8.29.00 AM

 

Meet Mady, a courageous 13-year-old dancer with a love of fashion and makeup. ACCO first got in touch with Mady’s mom, Ashley in February of 2019 after Mady got to meet Randy Fenoli at Kleinfeld in New York City. We’ve been following Mady’s story ever since. 46520356_10204986397936700_5712957268534755328_o

This month Mady relapsed and this time it was evident in her spine. She is beginning cycles of radiation in early February in New York. 

Mady was first diagnosed with neuroblastoma at the age of 8 years old. According to Ashley, “Mady was playing softball and rounded a base. She hurt her ankle which caused pain throughout her body. I knew something was wrong but didn’t know the extent.” 

“It was the scariest day of our lives. The doctor sat us down and said her gut feeling was right – they had found a tumor on Mady’s left adrenal gland.” The doctor ended up doing more scans and discovered neuroblastoma. Mady was scared and confused and of course, Ashley was terrified of the outcome. FB_IMG_1577455932435

Treatment started shortly after with several rounds of chemo and radiation which made Mady extremely sick. She was devastated when she lost her hair but she kept fighting. Later, it was discovered that Mady’s body was resistant to the chemo so they quickly switched to two different immunotherapy treatment and two mibg radiation therapy treatments. Mady has had two ports placed, had her left adrenal gland removed and endured biopsies of skull lesions.

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After two years of treatment, the cancer went dormant but relapsed in January of 2018. In March of 2018, Mady and her mom traveled to New York twice monthly to begin a trial treatment which cleared her of disease after 13 rounds of immunotherapy. In August of 2019, she had her first set of clear bone scans in almost four years. 

Mady’s attitude has been determined throughout treatment saying “it’s okay, I’m going to beat it!” From day one she had faith that she was going to beat the disease and has persevered when nothing was working. You can follow Mady’s story here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1038894766152004/

Please help ACCO send well wishes to Mady and her family by commenting on this post! 

To nominate your Gold Ribbon Hero click here

To learn more about neuroblastoma, click here.

ACCO provides information, resources, support, awareness and advocacy to families who are affected by childhood cancer. Donate today to help the littlest warriors.

 


grh AdrianMeet Adrian, a shark and travel enthusiast that was diagnosed with Pituitary Germinoma at the age of 16. 

Adrian’s symptoms started in August 2017 when he was complaining of frequent headaches accompanied by nausea and vomiting. In October 2017, an MRI was taken of his brain revealing a mass in his pituitary region which compressed his left optic nerve.

On November 10, 2017, Adrian underwent his first brain surgery to remove the top portion of his tumor however the rest of the mass was not able to be removed. The top portion of the tumor was sent to the lab revealing Intracranial Pituitary Germinoma.  Just 12 days later, Adrian was sent back into brain surgery to remove built up fluid on his brain.
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Adrian’s mom, Veronica said “we were already devastated seeing him come out of a brain surgery. We were so nervous, but once we heard it was actually cancer, I cannot put it into words the devastation, fear, anger and a million feelings/thoughts/emotions we experienced. As a parent, it is the most devastating thing to hear that your child has cancer.”

Adrian began his first round of chemotherapy leaving him very weak. Three weeks later, he started his second round of therapy. In total, Adrian completed four rounds of chemotherapy and followed with 21 days of radiation.

Through all of the treatments, Adrian did not complain about his pain or struggles. Cancer gave Adrian a new outlook on life and his hope is that all affected with cancer around the world are cured of cancer and can live fulfilling and happy lives.

Adrian was awarded two separate trips which ultimately brought the family closer together in their journey. On his wish trip, Adrian was able to go shark diving, cave diving, and swim with the dolphins. “It allowed us to live in the moment with one another, something that we hadn’t really done because we would always anticipate every appointment, every chemo cycle, every surgery. It was something we were always anticipating, whether it was his health, we were always worrying. It just gave us just that hope to look forward to the future and not think about those things,” explained Veronica.edit2

Adrian is now 18, and thriving as a survivor.  He is currently being monitored by oncology every three months and is on hormone replacement therapy for his pituitary gland. Please join us in sending well wishes to Adrian and his family!

For more information about childhood cancer please visit: https://www.acco.org

Nominate your Gold Ribbon Hero here: https://www.acco.org/gold-ribbon-heroes/

 

 

Meet Grace – a sweet and spirited 9 year old and one of our Ambassadors for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Grace is a generous and giving individual with a passion to help others and brighten their days. She is strong and courageous, even when things might not be easy.

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Grace is a typical 9-year-old, she loves gymnastics, softball, riding her bike, reading, painting and swimming. She also loves playing with her friends. This little warrior exudes good vibes and positive energy 24/7. For every birthday, Grace requested that in lieu of gifts, money should be donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Little did she know, she might be the recipient of services from them in the future.grace2

Aubrey, Grace’s mom, said “Grace was always the tallest in her class, and then one day she wasn’t. She was drinking a lot of water, so it warranted a closer look. A proactive pediatrician and endocrinologist ordered a brain MRI which resulted in the detection of a mass around Grace’s pituitary gland dangerously close to her optic nerves.”  The initial tumor was detected on April 9, 2018 and over the next few weeks, Grace endured scans at the neurosurgeons office. After discussing things with the doctor at length, Grace decided she wanted to be a doctor. She had more tests, scans and plenty of needles and laid still for each of them. She got through all of the tests by listening to songs on her playlist and smiling as best she could. Grace even comforted her queasy mother and support team.

Grace was diagnosed with Germinoma brain cancer, a germ cell brain tumor, on May 2, 2018. Her aggressive treatment began on May 9, 2018 and she just finished the radiation portion of treatment. As of today, there is no evidence of a tumor and Grace will undergo blood tests, MRIs and spinal taps for the next few months to monitor the success of the chemo.

graceandmomGrace loves to be crafty; she made a sign for the children to sign and date which says “Last Day of Chemo.” Throughout her treatment, she decided to paint pictures to brighten the nurses and the children’s days. When losing her hair became a reality, Grace decided to throw a party and shave her head. Grace’s brother and her best friend joined her in shaving their heads as well.

According to Grace’s mom, “The hardest thing in the process has been missing school. She is one of ‘those kids’ that is passionate about being in school. She video conferences in as much as she can and keeps up on all her projects, even the ones for her future’s gifted program. She rallied a huge team for a fundraiser walk for her hospital and came in second place overall for fundraising. She was the first place for largest team.”

Grace is determined to help people and is currently making a plan of how she will continue helping other kids with cancer. She enjoys tagrace1lking to people about this part of her journey and is focused on helping others. Grace plans on learning more about oncology. She is excited for the future and can’t wait for her hair to start growing back!

*Special thanks to Barbara Zobian and the Candlelighters NYC*

 

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