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What are the symptoms of diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma?

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Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is a rare type of brain cancer that usually affects children.

In DIPG, a tumor forms in the stem of the brain in an area called the pons. It’s in the lower part of the brain that controls vital body functions like blood pressure, heart rate, swallowing, eyesight and eye movement, balance, and breathing.

These tumors spread quickly, so children’s symptoms may worsen in a short time. The tumor grows and presses against the pons, causing problems with body functions controlled by this part of the brain. You might notice your child has:

As tumors grow, DIPG may cause life-threatening symptoms like severe breathing or heartbeat problems.

  • Balance and walking problems
  • Trouble chewing or swallowing food
  • Speech problems
  • Eye problems like control of eye movement, double vision, or droopy eyelids
  • Rapid loss of hearing or deafness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches in the morning or after they vomit
  • Drooping face, often on one side only
  • Weakness in their arms or legs

SOURCES:

Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center: “Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG).”

Michael Mosier Defeat DIPG Foundation: “DIPG Facts.”

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center: “Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG).”

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital: “Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG).”

Reviewed by Dan Brennan on May 15, 2020

SOURCES:

Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center: “Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG).”

Michael Mosier Defeat DIPG Foundation: “DIPG Facts.”

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center: “Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG).”

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital: “Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG).”

Reviewed by Dan Brennan on May 15, 2020

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