Starship Paediatric Neurosurgery
Public Service, Neurosurgery, Paediatrics
Brain tumours may be primary (they arise in the brain or spinal cord) or metastatic (they have originated in another part of the body and travelled to the brain). Primary tumours are the most common paediatric tumour and may either be benign (slow growing) or malignant (aggressive). The type of tumour is usually diagnosed after surgery or biopsy. Histology can take 7-10 working days.
Surgery may be the only treatment approach for a brain tumour, or it may be used in combination with radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy. Typically, the skull is opened up (craniotomy) giving the surgeon access to the tumour and allowing removal of as much of the tumour as safely as possible. There are a small number of tumours that are inoperable, meaning that the tumour cannot be safely removed without significant neurological deficit and/or death.
A biopsy is another surgical procedure often performed to aid in tumour diagnosis. A small hole is drilled into the skull and a sample of tissue removed for examination under the microscope.
Radiation therapy uses high energy x-rays to kill abnormal cells, while chemotherapy uses chemicals (drugs) to destroy cancer cells.
Prognosis depends on the type of tumour, location and if there is any tumour left after surgery.