Skip to content

Brain Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Stages of Childhood Brain Stem Glioma

    The plan for cancer treatment depends on whether the tumor is in one area of the brain or has spread throughout the brain.

    Staging is the process used to find out how much cancer there is and if cancer has spread. It is important to know the stage in order to plan treatment.

    Recommended Related to Brain Cancer

    Late Effects in Patients Treated for Childhood Craniopharyngioma

    Quality-of-life issues are important in this group of patients, and are difficult to assess due to various treatment modalities. Whereas intelligence quotient is usually maintained, behavioral issues and memory deficits attributed to the frontal lobe and hypothalamus are common.[1] Other common problems include visual loss, obesity (which can be life threatening), and the almost universal need for life-long endocrine replacement with multiple pituitary hormones.[2,3,4][Level of evidence: 3iiiC] Vasculopathies...

    Read the Late Effects in Patients Treated for Childhood Craniopharyngioma article > >

    There is no standard staging system for childhood brain stem glioma. Instead, the plan for cancer treatment depends on whether the tumor is diffuse (spread throughout the brain) or focal (in one area of the brain):

    • Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma is a tumor that has spread widely throughout the brain stem. A biopsy is usually not done for this type of brain stem glioma and it is not removed by surgery. A diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma is usually diagnosed using imaging studies.
    • Focal or low-grade glioma is a tumor that is in one area of the brain stem. A biopsy may be done and the tumor removed during the same surgery.

    There are three ways that cancer spreads in the body.

    The three ways that cancer spreads in the body are:

    • Through tissue. Cancer invades the surrounding normal tissue.
    • Through the lymph system. Cancer invades the lymph system and travels through the lymph vessels to other places in the body.
    • Through the blood. Cancer invades the veins and capillaries and travels through the blood to other places in the body.

    When cancer cells break away from the primary (original) tumor and travel through the lymph or blood to other places in the body, another (secondary) tumor may form. This process is called metastasis. The secondary (metastatic) tumor is the same type of cancer as the primary tumor. For example, if breast cancer spreads to the bones, the cancer cells in the bones are actually breast cancer cells. The disease is metastatic breast cancer, not bone cancer.

    The information from tests and procedures done to detect (find) childhood brain stem glioma is used to plan cancer treatment.

    Some of the tests used to detect childhood brain stem glioma are repeated if the tumor is removed by surgery. (See the General Information section.) This is to find out how much tumor remains after surgery and plan further treatment.

      This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

      WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

      Last Updated: February 25, 2014
      This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
      1

      Today on WebMD

      doctor and patient
      How to know when it’s time for home care
      doctory with x-ray
      Here are 10 to know.
       
      sauteed cherry tomatoes
      Fight cancer one plate at a time.
      Lung cancer xray
      See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
       
      Malignant Gliomas
      Article
      Pets Improve Your Health
      SLIDESHOW
       
      Headache Emergencies
      Video
      life after a brain tumor
      VIDEO
       

      Would you consider trying alternative or complementary therapies?


      WebMD Special Sections