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Childhood Craniopharyngioma Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI] - General Information About Childhood Craniopharyngioma

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Childhood craniopharyngiomas are diagnosed and may be removed in the same surgery.

Doctors may diagnose a craniopharyngioma based on where the tumor is in the brain and how it looks on a CT scan or MRI. Sometimes a biopsy is required to find out the type of tumor. The biopsy is done during surgery, and a tissue sample is removed, using one of the following procedures:

  • An open biopsy (a hollow needle is inserted through a hole in the skull into the brain).
  • A computer-guided needle biopsy (guided by a computer, a hollow needle is inserted through a small hole in the skull into the brain).
  • A transsphenoidal biopsy (instruments are inserted into part of the brain by going through the nose and the sphenoid bone, a butterfly-shaped bone at the base of the skull).

A pathologist views the tissue under a microscope to look for tumor cells. If tumor cells are found, the doctor may remove as much tumor as safely possible during the same surgery.

Certain factors affect prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options.

The prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options depend on the following:

  • The size of the tumor.
  • Where the tumor is in the brain.
  • Whether the tumor is solid or a fluid-filled cyst.
  • Whether there are tumor cells left after surgery.
  • The child's age.
  • Whether the tumor has just been diagnosed or has recurred (come back).
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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.
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