Doctor's Notes on Childhood Craniopharyngioma
Childhood craniopharyngiomas are rare brain tumors found near the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus. They are usually part solid mass and part fluid-filled cyst. Childhood craniopharyngiomas are benign (not cancerous) but they may grow and press on nearby parts of the brain or other areas, including the pituitary gland, the optic chiasm, optic nerves, and fluid-filled spaces in the brain, and can affect brain functions, hormone making, growth, and vision.
Symptoms of childhood craniopharyngiomas include:
- headaches (including a morning headache or a headache that goes away after vomiting),
- vision changes,
- nausea and vomiting,
- loss of balance,
- difficulty walking,
- increase in thirst or urination,
- unusual sleepiness or changes in energy levels,
- changes in personality or behavior,
- short stature or slow growth,
- hearing loss, or
- weight gain.
What Is the Treatment for Childhood Craniopharyngioma?
Treatment for childhood craniopharyngioma varies according to each individual. Sometimes, surgery to remove the tumor is all that is required. In other cases, additional treatments may be given after surgery.
Treatment options include:
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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.