The 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 of the glial cells, the supporting cells of the brain. There are several types of glioma, depending on the type of cells involved and the location in the brain. Oligodendroglioma is a rare tumor that starts in the oligodendrocytes. These are the cells that help form the fatty covering (myelin) of nerve cells. Oligodendrogliomas:
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.
Your child's healthcare provider will ask about your child's health history and symptoms. He or she will examine your child. This will include 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 have tests such as:
Part of diagnosing cancer and deciding on treatment is called grading. Grading describes how much cancer cells are different from normal cells. Most tumors are graded on a scale from I to IV. Grade I means that the cancer cells have only just started to grow. They look a lot like normal cells and are likely to grow slowly. They are called low-grade. Grade IV means that it is advanced in its growth and is likely to grow quickly. They are called high-grade. Grade 4 tumors are also called anaplastic oligodendrogliomas. Grades 2 and 3 are in between. They are called intermediate-grade.
If your child has been diagnosed with a brain tumor and time allows, you may want your child to see a different oncologist (get a second opinion) before beginning treatment. In fact, your insurance company might require a second opinion.
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:
A child may have complications from the tumor or from treatment, such as:
A child with a brain tumor needs ongoing care. Your child will be seen by oncologists and other healthcare providers to treat any late effects of treatment and to watch for signs or 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:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:
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