Treatment for craniopharyngioma is a multidisciplinary process. Children with this tumor need a comprehensive treatment plan, which depends on their age, the size and location of the tumor, and the general health of the child. The first step in the treatment process is surgery. Doctors will remove the cancerous cells as much as possible. In some cases, radiation therapy is also used to shrink the tumor. The focus of the radiation therapy will be the areas of the tumor that remain after surgery.
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The cause of craniopharyngioma is still a mystery to scientists. They may be present at birth, or they may develop over time. However, it is known that there is a family history of craniopharyngioma, which means it can be present at birth or develop from a tissue left over from pregnancy. The exact cause is unknown. While it is a rare condition, treatment is often complex, and many patients are cured.
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One of the most important aspects of craniopharyngioma is the fact that it is difficult to determine when it will develop. Although some children are born with the tumor, others can develop it. Regardless of whether or not the tumor is present at birth, the treatment of craniopharyngioma in childhood will vary according to the size and location of the tumor.
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During the course of the diagnosis, your doctor will ask you questions about your child's symptoms and chart their weight and height. Your child's symptoms should be consistent with these.
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Symptoms of craniopharyngioma in childhood are typically confined to the skull. Some children may experience headaches as a result of increased intracranial pressure or meningeal irritation caused by the cystic fluid. Sixty-two percent to eighty percent of craniopharyngioma patients also have visual symptoms. Temporal hemianopsia and optic chiasm compression are the most common visual disturbances. Some children may not notice any change in their vision, but more severe cases can present with papilledema, retinal atrophy, and even visual field deficits.
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As with any brain tumor, craniopharyngioma in childhood can affect a child's ability to speak, breathe, and eat. Fortunately, the majority of craniopharyngiomas in childhood are benign, and they do not cause any permanent damage or symptoms. Despite their benign nature, they do have a significant impact on the brain and may affect the child's growth.
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The symptoms of craniopharyngioma in childhood are varying depending on their size and location. The tumor may affect a child's ability to see objects and to develop vision. A physician will note any changes in growth patterns and the presence of a cyst. A physician will also take measurements of the size and weight of the child to determine the tumor in the brain. A biopsy will reveal whether a craniopharyngioma is malignant or benign.
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Most children with craniopharyngioma experience headaches during the day of the surgery. The reason for these symptoms is unclear, but it is important to note that a child can have the disease before they are five years old, although they can also develop it later in life. A full neurological examination and physical exam should be done as soon as the symptoms occur. Depending on the size and location of the tumor, the symptoms can include vision loss, endocrine changes, and cognitive problems.
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A pediatrician can determine if a craniopharyngioma has spread to the brain. While the tumor is usually harmless, it can sometimes compress important anatomical structures, including the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and optic nerves. If this happens, the tumor will affect vision and can lead to paresthesia or seizures. Therefore, the doctor will want to know if the child has any of these symptoms.
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If it is not possible to remove the tumor completely, a pediatrician may prescribe a hormone therapy. This hormone replacement is usually administered in conjunction with surgery. The hormones may not fully compensate for the damage to the surrounding tissue. The doctor will try to determine whether the medication will be effective in preventing the tumor from growing back. A doctor will also be able to prescribe other medications that can help.