This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).
Childhood brain stem glioma is a rare condition in which abnormal cells develop in the tissues of the brain stem (the part of the brain connected to the spinal cord). The condition can be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous). The severity of the condition and the associated signs and symptoms vary based on the size and location of the tumor and how quickly the tumor is growing. Common features include difficulty walking; loss of the ability to move one side of the body or face; vision or hearing problems; headaches (particularly in the morning); nausea and vomiting; unusual sleepiness; and behavioral changes. In most cases, the underlying cause of childhood brain stem glioma is unknown. Certain genetic conditions, such as neurofibromatosis type I, are associated with an increased risk of childhood brainstem glioma. Treatment varies but may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, cerebrospinal fluid diversion, observation, and targeted therapy.
For more information, visit GARD.