Pediatric Brain Tumor

A brain tumor is a collection, or mass, of abnormal cells in the brain. Brain tumors can be cancerous or benign (noncancerous); however, any growth inside the skull, a restricted space, can cause problems.

Pediatric brain tumors are the most common form of solid tumors among children under the age of 15, and represent about 20% of all childhood cancers. Childhood tumors frequently appear in different locations and behave differently than brain tumors in adults. Treatment options vary and can be strongly influenced by the age of the child. Children with tumors may also have a much better prognosis than adults with a similar condition.

For more information about pediatric brain tumors visit the American Brain Tumor Association website.

How Palliative Care can Help

Pediatric palliative care is all of the specialized care not directed at treating the disease itself. Depending on the patient, it might include consultations with a child life specialist, social worker, nurse and/or nurse practitioner, music therapist, massage therapist, occupational therapist, etc. In short, palliative care is designed to provide relief from the symptoms, pain, and psychological and emotional stress of serious illness-whatever the diagnosis. The goals are to promote quality of life for the child, and to ensure that families are active in the child’s treatment, so that medical decisions are patient- and family-focused.

Palliative care is often confused with hospice and end-of-life care. It is intended for children and families living with a life-threatening or terminal condition, but pediatric palliative care is NOT hospice. In fact, palliative care is appropriate for any stage of the illness and can be delivered along with disease directed curative treatments.