May also be called: Pontine Glioma, Diffuse Pontine Glioma, Midbrain Tumor,
Tumor of the Medulla
A brain stem glioma (glee-OH-muh) is any tumor
that forms in a part of the brain stem.
More to Know
The brain stem, located deep in the back of the brain,
is made up of three parts: the midbrain, pons, and medulla. These parts coordinate
the brain's messages. They also control many of the body's autonomic functions (processes
we almost never think about controlling, like breathing, digestion, sweating, and
shivering). A tumor that develops in any area of the brain stem is called a brain
Types of brain stem gliomas include pontine glioma, midbrain tumor, and tumor of
In a pontine glioma (a tumor in the pons), symptoms may come on
suddenly and get worse quickly. They can include:
turning in of one eyeball
drooping of the eyelid
trouble speaking and walking
Pontine gliomas are the most common brain stem tumors and are hard to treat.
Midbrain tumors may cause similar eye problems, along with headaches
and vomiting. This is due to increased pressure in the head from a blockage of cerebrospinal
fluid. Cerebrospinal fluid surrounds and cushions the brain and spinal cord.
Tumors of the medulla may cause swallowing problems and limb weakness.
Surgeons usually can't operate on the brain stem, so oncologists (cancer doctors)
mostly treat brain stem gliomas with radiation
therapy and chemotherapy.
Keep in Mind
With more treatments becoming available, the outlook for kids with brain stem gliomas
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