Treatment

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Your team of doctors, called a multidisciplinary team (MDT), will care for and treat your child, and will ensure that all your child’s needs are considered while they have cancer treatment.

Treatment for brain and central nervous system (CNS) tumours depends on:

  • the age of your child
  • the stage of the cancer
  • other factors.

Your doctor will suggest treatment options based on your child’s situation. Treatment may involve one or more of the following:

  • surgery
  • chemotherapy
  • radiation therapy
  • targeted therapy
  • other treatments
  • careful observation.

See The treatment team for more information.

Surgery

Most children with brain or other CNS tumours have surgery to remove all or part of the tumour. Brain surgery can affect your child’s brain or nerves. However, the doctors (called neurosurgeons) who perform this surgery are extremely careful and highly experienced and can avoid damaging your child’s normal brain tissue.

Sometimes, the entire tumour can be removed before it has spread to other parts of the body. If this is the case for your child, they may not need any other treatment.

Surgeons may remove part of your child’s brain tumour if:

  • the tumour has spread to surrounding areas
  • it’s in a part of the brain or CNS that makes complete removal of the tumour very difficult.

Surgery can reduce the size of the tumour that needs to be treated with chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Surgery may make these treatments more successful.

Brain surgery may also be performed to:

  • relieve symptoms such as headaches, nausea, seizures and blurred vision (if the tumour is putting pressure on the brain)
  • drain excess fluid to relieve pressure on the brain
  • to insert a device that allows chemotherapy to be delivered directly into the cerebrospinal fluid (known as a ventricular access catheter).

After surgery, your child may have tubes coming out of the surgical site to drain excess fluid out of the skull. These tubes are usually removed after a few days.