Symptoms and Signs of Childhood Brain Cancer: Astrocytoma

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

Doctor's Notes on Childhood Brain Cancer: Astrocytoma

Childhood astrocytoma is a form of brain cancer in which cells in the brain start to grow abnormally. Astrocytomas are tumors that start in certain brain cells called astrocytes, which are a type of glial cell. Gliomas are tumors that form from glial cells and astrocytoma is a type of glioma. Astrocytoma is the most common type of glioma diagnosed in children.

Symptoms of childhood astrocytoma depend on where the tumor forms in the brain or spinal cord, the size of the tumor, how fast the tumor grows, and the child's age and development. Symptoms of childhood astrocytoma may include morning headache or headache that goes away after vomiting, nausea, vomiting, vision and hearing difficulties, speech problems, loss of balance, trouble walking, worsening handwriting, slow speech, weakness or change in feeling on one side of the body, unusual sleepiness, more or less energy than usual, changes in personality or behavior, seizures, changes in weight for no known reason, and an increase in the size of the head (in infants).


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.