The brain and spinal cord are often referred to as the central command centre of the body. It controls the thought, emotion, speech, vision, hearing, and balance of an individual.
Brain and spinal cord tumours in children develop as a result of cells growing out of control.
These rapidly growing cells can prevent the central nervous system from working the way it should. Which can in turn affect the behaviour, sight, speech, balance and hearing of the child.
In some cases, it can also affect the child's bladder. This condition can be very dangerous and life-threatening.
Children’s brain and spinal cord tumours grow in the spinal cord or the cerebrum, cerebellum, or brain stem.
What Are the Different Types?
There are many types of brain and spinal cord tumours that affect children. However, there are two major categories namely:
malignant (cancerous ) and benign (non-cancerous) tumours.
Malignant tumours are likely to grow very quickly and may also spread into other brain tissue, or other parts of the body. Benign brain and spinal cord tumours can affect the brain, brain stem, and spinal cord and they rarely spread to other parts of the body. Still, these tumours can cause significant problems because of where they’re located. They can even be life-threatening.
Photo Credit: UNICEF
Despite the research, doctors are unsure what the cause of brain and spinal cord tumours in children are. However, in rare cases, children suffering from the disease are said to have inherited mutinous genes from their parents that increases their risk of developing brain and spinal cord tumours.
Another risk factor is radiation. This is the only recognised environmental risk factor. Usually, this occurs as a result of medical treatment for some other condition. Radiation therapy, CT scans, and X-rays to the head can put the child at risk of tumours. This is why children are not subjected to this form of treatment unless it is necessary.
Also, children are not often tested for brain or spinal cord tumours unless they start showing symptoms of the disease.
That means there’s no common age for children to be diagnosed with a brain or spinal cord tumour. Children can develop tumours as newborns or teenagers.
Common symptoms include headaches, vomiting, dizziness, and feeling off-balance. These symptoms can gradually develop slowly or come on quickly.
Content created and supplied by: DrGeraldine (via Opera News )
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