It’s indeed a sad day when you know that a young child is afflicted by brain tumor. These pediatric brain tumors are basically masses of abnormal cells that are growing within the brain and its associated structures. They can be primary in nature – that is, they are growing at their point of origination or they can be secondary growths – meaning they have moved or metastasized to the brain from some other location.
Some of these tumors can be benign and not life-threatening while others can be malignant and require aggressive intervention. Treatment in children is different from that in adults and depends on the tumors location, type, size as well as the general health and age of the child.
A major hurdle in very young children is diagnosis of the tumor itself as finding out the signs and symptoms can be very challenging. These symptoms can develop gradually over time or maybe of sudden-onset. A growing tumor in any part of the brain will exert pressure within the skull, thereby increasing the intra-cranial pressure and inducing symptoms. The symptoms are also influenced by the type of tumor, its size, location as well as its rate of growth. Some symptoms may not be easy to detect as they can be associated with other common conditions too. The expertise of a neurologist, pediatrician as well as an oncologist is needed for diagnosis and treatment.
However, here are some of the important signs and symptoms to look out for in children with brain tumors:
- Headaches which may get progressively more frequent and severe
- Feeling increasing pressure inside the head
- Vision problems which include blurry or double vision
- Abnormal movement of the eyes
- Issues with hearing on one or both sides
- Nausea or vomiting that can’t be linked to any other thing
- Slurred speech and difficulty with language
- Problems in swallowing
- Loss of appetite
- Problems with walking or maintaining balance
- Weakness or loss of sensation in a limb
- Drooping of one side of the face
- A fuller and softer fontanel on the skull of affected babies
- Cognitive problems along with confusion and irritability
- Personality and behavioral changes
- Memory problems
- Unexpected seizures – without any prior history
- Drowsiness or in some cases, coma
Other signs and symptoms could include developmental delays, fatigue and a drop in physical and intellectual abilities.
However, do note that the presence of any of these symptoms doesn’t necessarily indicate that your child has a brain tumor. But if it’s a cause of worry to you, do take him to a doctor.Leave a reply