Medulloblastoma is a type of paediatric brain tumour that is malignant. This tumour arises from the cerebellum, which is a part of the brain that is located towards the base of the skull.
Associated Anatomy of Medulloblastoma
Medulloblastoma occurs in the brain and primarily affects the cerebellum.
Causes of Medulloblastoma
Many children with cancer are most likely to develop medulloblastoma. Malignancies can occur in individuals with cancer that can further lead to medulloblastoma. In individuals who have cancer, malignancies may develop over a period of time due to the abnormal changes that may occur in the orientation as well as the structure of particular cells.
In most cases, these chromosomal abnormalities are not inherited from parents or previous generations. The specific causes for these abnormalities are unknown. However, they are found in the genetic code of babies and are often attributed to cellular malignant transformation.
In rare scenarios, inherited disorders such as Gorlin Syndrome, Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome, and Li Fraumeni Syndrome can develop medulloblastoma.
Signs Or Symptoms of Medulloblastoma
Some signs and symptoms of medulloblastoma include the following.
- Headaches - People with medulloblastoma may experience headaches, either focused or throughout their head.
- Nausea - Nausea is also a common sign of medulloblastoma.
- Vomiting - Typically, medulloblastoma can induce the occurrences of vomiting in individuals.
- Tiredness - People with medulloblastoma may often find themselves too tired to perform daily tasks.
- Double vision - Double vision is a more advanced symptom and could indicate medulloblastoma.
- Dizziness - Dizziness, among other reasons, can be an indication of medulloblastoma.
- Poor coordination - Having poor coordination such as unsteady walking can be a symptom of medulloblastoma.
Possible Treatment of Medulloblastoma
The possible treatments for medulloblastoma are the following.
- Radiation therapy - Radiations such as X-rays, high-energy beams, or protons can be used by paediatric or adult radiation oncologist administrators to kill cancer or tumour caused due to medulloblastoma.
- Surgery to remove the medulloblastoma - The medulloblastoma tumour can itself be removed by surgery by not harming the surrounding tissue. However, in some cases, the tumour cannot be removed.
- Clinical trials - Clinical trials allow individuals to participate to understand the effectiveness of available procedures of treatments that are not yet in the market.
- Chemotherapy - Chemotherapy is when different drugs are used to kill the tumour cells. Usually, children and adults who have medulloblastoma are given these drugs intravenously.
- Surgery to relieve fluid buildup in the brain - Medulloblastoma can grow to block the flow of CSF in the brain and can thereby build pressure in the brain. Surgery can help relieve this pressure.
Risk Factors for Medulloblastoma
- Age - Age is a risk factor that can increase the risk of medulloblastoma. Most often, medulloblastoma occurs during the first 8 years of life.
- Gender - Medulloblastoma occurs in equal proportions in both boys and girls.
- Genetics - Individuals with genetic conditions such as BRCA1 gene mutations, Nevoid Carcinoma, and Turcot Syndrome are more prone towards medulloblastoma.
There are 3 stages associated with medulloblastoma.
In this stage, the medulloblastoma is not spread to other regions of the brain or the spinal cord.
In this stage, the medulloblastoma is either spread up to 1.5 cubic centimetres or has spread to other parts of the brain and the spinal cord.
This stage is a recurrent stage that occurs after treatment. Medulloblastoma may reoccur in the spine, brain, or spinal fluid.
Typical Test for Medulloblastoma
Medulloblastoma can be diagnosed by a neurological exam that includes the testing of balance, vision, hearing, reflexes, and coordination. Another way to diagnose is using imaging tests such as MRI or CT scans. Tissue sampling, also known as biopsy, is also a good method of diagnosis. It involves collecting a sample of the tumour for further diagnosis and analysis. Removal of cerebrospinal fluid through a lumbar puncture can also be done to diagnose medulloblastoma.
Primary Prevention of Medulloblastoma
As this condition most often is found in the genetic code, preventing medulloblastoma is not the most plausible approach. However, the primary method of preventing the condition from progressing to a stage where management and treatment gets challenging is early diagnosis. By identifying the condition early on from development, both the treatment process and the management of medulloblastoma gets much easier.
Secondary Prevention of Medulloblastoma
The secondary means of prevention of further progression of medulloblastoma can be to run genetic tests for the condition with genetic tests. This can pave the way for early diagnosis and improve the outcome of the treatment or procedure associated with medulloblastoma.
- Age - Mostly, medulloblastoma occurs in the first 8 years of a person’s life. So, children are more prone to this condition.
- Gender - Medulloblastoma affects both girls and boys in equal ratios.
Medulloblastoma Expected Prognosis
With medulloblastoma, the tumours can grow over time and increase in size. Moreover, it is also possible for this tumour to spread to different regions of the body such as other parts of the brain, the spinal cord, and the spinal fluid as well.
Natural Progression of Medulloblastoma
If medulloblastoma is left undiagnosed or untreated, it can result in both the growth and the spread of the tumour. The condition can be challenging to manage in such cases, as the spread may increase, and other body parts may be impacted negatively.
Pathophysiology of Medulloblastoma
With the progression of medulloblastoma, you may notice changes in activity, energy levels, and other aspects of the body. It can also lead to weakening of the individuals, double vision, uncoordinated movement, and poor balance.
Possible Complication of Medulloblastoma
Some of the most common complications include worsening of the symptoms. If medulloblastoma is left untreated, it can lead to worsening of the symptoms and can also result in an increasing size of the tumour. Moreover, the tumour can also spread to other body parts if proper treatment is not provided.
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