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What is medulloblastoma?

Medulloblastoma is a fast-growing, high-grade tumor that starts in the region of the brain at the base of the skull. These tumors often spread to other parts of the brain and spinal cord as well.

 


What are the symptoms of medulloblastoma?

The most common symptoms include:

  • Behavioral changes
  • Cha nges in appetite
  • Increased pressure on the brain in which headaches, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, and coordination problems can occur
  • Unusual eye movements may also occur

If the tumor has spread to the spinal cord, symptoms may include:

  • Back pain
  • Trouble walking
  • Problems controlling bladder and bowel functions

 


What is the cause of medulloblastoma?

As with many tumors, the exact cause of medulloblastoma is unknown. Changes have been identified in genes that may play a role in the development of medulloblastoma. There are also a few rare, genetic health syndromes that are associated with increased risk for developing this tumor.

 


How is medulloblastoma treated?

Usually the first step in treating medulloblastoma is surgery with a goal of removing as much of the tumor as possible. If the tumor has been completely removed, you will be treated with reduced-dose radiation to the brain and spinal cord before receiving chemotherapy. Radiation us used for killing off tumor cells and limiting the growth of the tumor. Chemotherapy involves the use of medications that stop the growth of the tumor and can be given orally or through an IV, so that it can travel throughout the body.

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