Brainstem glioma

Brainstem Glioma


Brainstem glioma

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A brainstem glioma is a cancerous glioma tumor in the brainstem.

They are most often found in children under the age of twenty (75% of the time), but have been known to affect adults as well. Brainstem gliomas are often primary brain tumors, and rarely metastasize, or spread, to affect another part of the body.


The cause is still unknown. Researchers have not found any direct genetic link. Children irradiated for tinea capitis have been found to have an increased risk for other central nervous system tumors, such as meningiomas, gliomas, and nerve sheath tumors, but not necessarily tumors of the brain stem.

Signs and symptoms

Common symptoms include, but are not necessarily limited to:
  • Lack of facial control, (droopy eyelids)
  • Double vision
  • Headache or headache that gets better after vomiting
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Seizures
  • Balance problems

Symptoms can develop slowly and subtly and may go unnoticed for months. In other cases, the symptoms may arise abruptly. A sudden onset of symptoms tends to occur with more rapidly growing, high-grade tumors.


Neuroimaging, such as MRI, is the main diagnostic tool for brain stem gliomas. In very rare cases, surgery and biopsy are performed.


Unlike most brain tumors, brainstem...
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