Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors in Children

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Early Detection, Diagnosis, and Staging TOPICS

Can brain and spinal cord tumors in children be found early?

At this time there are no widely recommended blood tests or other screening exams for most children to look for brain tumors before they start to cause symptoms. These tumors usually are found as a result of signs or symptoms the child is having.

In most cases, survival in patients with brain tumors depends on the type of tumor and its location, not how early it is detected. But as with any disease, earlier detection and treatment is likely to be helpful.

For children with certain inherited syndromes that put them at higher risk for brain tumors, such as neurofibromatosis or tuberous sclerosis, doctors may recommend frequent physical exams and other tests. These tests might find tumors when they are still small. Not all tumors related to these syndromes may need to be treated right away, but finding them early may help doctors monitor them so that they can be treated quickly if they begin to grow or cause problems.


Last Medical Review: 03/22/2013
Last Revised: 01/31/2014