Craniopharyngioma Treatment: Explore Your Options

Craniopharyngioma is a benign brain tumor that most commonly affects children.

Finding Comfort in Knowledge

Learning your child has a brain tumor has undoubtedly been a stressful process for you. To help you during this time, the following information outlines craniopharyngioma treatment options available in the tri-state area, as well as some information about how craniopharyngiomas develop. Educating yourself about your child’s condition will help you have peace of mind as you move forward. Reducing your stress will help your child feel more comfortable, as well.

What is a Craniopharyngioma?

A craniopharyngioma is a benign brain tumor that forms before birth. It develops from cells that form the pituitary gland, which is located in an area of the brain near the back of the nose. Though benign, these tumors can grow large enough to impinge on adjacent structures. This includes the pituitary gland itself, brain tissues and nerves related to vision. Though they sometimes occur in adult patients, craniopharyngiomas develop most often in children.

Work with a Craniopharyngioma Treatment Specialist

Take the time to find a neurosurgeon in the tri-state area experienced with treating craniopharyngiomas in pediatric patients. Doing so will ensure your child’s care is in the hands of a specialist, which will also give you confidence throughout the process. If you have any concerns, remember that you always have the ability to seek out a second opinion, particularly from someone who has more experience with your child’s condition.

After your child is diagnosed with a craniopharyngioma, it will be important to maintain open communication with his or her doctor. The doctor will answer any questions you may have, working with you to set your mind at ease as you move into the treatment planning phase. This open communication will be another way to help you feel comfortable with the process, making things easier for yourself and your child.

Craniopharyngioma Treatment Options

The next step following your child’s diagnosis is to explore craniopharyngioma treatment options available in northern NJ. Your child’s doctor will take many factors into consideration, including the size and location of the tumor and your child’s age. The treatment plan may include a single form of treatment or a combination of treatments using the following approaches.

Surgery

Your child’s doctor may recommend removing all or part of the craniopharyngioma using surgical methods. During the procedure, your child will be asleep and comfortable and will need to spend at least a few days recovering in the hospital following surgery. Depending on the size and location of your child’s tumor, the neurosurgeon will either access the area through the back of the nose or by temporarily removing a small piece of skull. If any tumor cells remain after treatment, your child will likely require radiation therapy following surgery.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy can be used to shrink a tumor with or without surgery. There are two forms of radiation therapy commonly used to treat craniopharyngiomas. The first method is fractionated radiotherapy, which uses multiple sessions of low-dose radiation therapy to stop a tumor from growing and/or shrink it all together. This process typically takes several weeks of treatment sessions.

A second form of radiation therapy is Gamma Knife radiosurgery. Unlike fractionated radiotherapy, Gamma Knife radiosurgery often only requires a single treatment session. During Gamma Knife radiosurgery, your child’s doctor is able to target the tumor directly, shrinking it without damaging healthy neighboring tissues. The result is the craniopharyngioma can be eradicated without the need for a hospital stay or any incisions, making it a great minimally invasive treatment option.

Chemotherapy

If your child’s craniopharyngioma returns after initial treatment, the doctor may recommend chemotherapy. This is the use of medications to eliminate any tumor cells and is typically only used in difficult cases. Initial treatment plans do not commonly include chemotherapy as a first-line craniopharyngioma treatment.

Continue the Discussion

Understanding the craniopharyngioma treatment options available in northern NJ is a helpful way to reduce some of the stress you may be feeling right now. Nobody expects to learn their child has a brain tumor, and educating yourself about his or her condition is going to be a powerful way to gain confidence moving forward. This will trickle down to your child, helping him or her cope with the process, as well.

It is important you continue the discussion with your child’s personal doctor. The information here has been presented to help lay the foundation for your next conversation, giving you a jumping-off point to get that started. Your child’s doctor will be able to explain why one craniopharyngioma treatment option may be preferable in your child’s specific case. Be sure you ask questions and bring up any concerns you may have at that point. Having those answers will allow you rest easy and focus your energy on helping your child understand, giving your entire family peace of mind.

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