brain is part of the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS also includes the spinal
cord. A tumor is an abnormal growth of tissue. An oligodendroglioma is a type of CNS
tumor called a glioma. These are tumors that start in the glial cells. The glial cells
act as supports for other brain cells. There are many types of gliomas.
Oligodendroglioma is a rare tumor that starts in cells called oligodendrocytes. These
are the cells that help form the fatty covering (myelin) of nerve cells.
Researchers don't know what causes
brain tumors. Changes (mutations) in the genes (DNA) likely cause normal cells to turn
into cancer. These may be passed on from parents to children (inherited). Or may happen
without a known reason.
Symptoms of brain tumors depend on their size and where they are in the brain. For example, if a tumor develops in the region that controls speech, your child's speech may be affected.
Symptoms of an oligodendroglioma may include:
The symptoms of oligodendroglioma can be like other health conditions. Make sure your child sees a healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
child's healthcare provider will ask about your child's health history and symptoms. The
provider will do a physical exam that includes a neurological exam. The exam tests
reflexes, muscle strength, eye and mouth movement, and coordination. Your child's
healthcare provider may refer your child to a cancer specialist (oncologist). Your child
may need tests such as:
of diagnosing oligodendroglioma and deciding on treatment is called grading. Grading
describes how much the cancer cells look like normal cells. Most tumors are graded on a
scale of I (1) to IV (4). Grade I means that the cancer cells look a lot like normal
cells and are likely to grow slowly. They' re called low-grade. Grade IV means that the
cancer cells look very different and are likely to grow quickly. They' re called
high-grade. Grade IV tumors are also called anaplastic oligodendrogliomas. Grades II
and III are in between. They are called intermediate-grade. Talk with the doctor about
the grade of your child's cancer and what it means.
your child has been diagnosed with a brain tumor and time allows, you may want your
child to see a different oncologist to get a second opinion. This may help you better
understand the treatment options and feel good about the treatment choices you make.
It's important for your child to be treated at a center that specializes in treating
cancer in children. Most children are treated in a clinical trial. These are studies
that compare the best treatments available now with treatments that are thought to be
even better. Your doctor may talk to you about this option.
Treatment may include one or more of the below:
Other parts of treatment may include:
With any cancer, how well a child is expected to recover (prognosis) varies. Keep in mind:
child may have short- and long-term problems from the tumor or from treatment. They may
include things such as:
the doctor about what you should watch for and what can be done to help prevent
child with a brain tumor needs special care for the rest of his or her life . Your child
will be seen by oncologists and other healthcare providers to treat any late effects of
treatment and to watch for symptoms of the tumor returning. Your child will be checked
with imaging tests and other tests. And your child may see other healthcare providers
for problems from the tumor or from treatment. For example, your child may see an eye
doctor (ophthalmologist) for vision problems.
Your child may need therapy to help with movement and muscle strength. This may be done by physical and occupational therapists. If your child's speech is affected, he or she may need help from a speech therapist. Your child may also need the help of other therapists for learning or emotional problems.
You can help your child manage his or her treatment in many ways. For example:
Call the healthcare provider if your child has:
to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:
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