Pediatric brain tumors are masses or growths of abnormal cells that occur in the brain or the tissue and structures that are near it. Many different types of pediatric brain tumors exist — some are noncancerous (benign) and some are cancerous (malignant).

Treatment and chance of recovery (prognosis) depend on the tumor type, its location within the brain, whether it has spread, and your child's age and general health. Because new treatments and technologies are continually being developed, several options may be available at different points in treatment.

Treatment for pediatric brain tumors is typically quite different from treatment for adult brain tumors, so it's very important to enlist the expertise and experience of pediatric specialists.

Treatment of brain tumors in children usually differs from treatment in adults. You can expect the best care for your child at Mayo Clinic for these reasons:

  • Specialists in children's health care. In Mayo Clinic's Pediatric Brain Tumor Clinic, specialists work together to deliver the most effective treatment for your child. A pediatric neuro-oncologist specializing in brain tumors typically will be your child's primary doctor. This doctor will coordinate access to other specialists from the brain tumor treatment team, including neurology, neurosurgery, neuroradiology, pediatric endocrinology, neuropathology, radiation oncology, pediatric oncology, psychology and brain rehabilitation.
  • Experience. Mayo Clinic specialists treat many types of pediatric brain tumors, including common and rare. Types of pediatric brain tumors treated at Mayo Clinic include medulloblastoma, primitive neuroectodermal tumors, ependymoma, gliomas, germ cell tumors, infant brain tumors, spinal cord tumors and craniopharyngiomas.
  • Expertise. Mayo neurosurgeons have extensive experience in tumor removal in both children and adults. Surgery removes all or part of the tumor while minimizing damage to healthy tissue. Mayo Clinic's expertise in computer-assisted brain surgery allows neurosurgeons to precisely locate tumors and remove them using the safest and least invasive route possible. Brain-mapping techniques, intraoperative MRI and awake brain surgery help surgeons operate without injuring critical areas of the brain.
  • Access to clinical trials. Mayo Clinic is a member of the Children's Oncology Group. This large collaboration among hospitals gives children with brain tumors access to clinical trials that offer the latest in treatments for childhood cancers.
  • Comprehensive cancer center. Mayo Clinic Cancer Center meets strict standards for a National Cancer Institute comprehensive cancer center, recognizing scientific excellence and a multispecialty approach focused on cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., ranks No. 1 for neurology and neurosurgery in the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals rankings. Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., are ranked among the Best Hospitals for neurology and neurosurgery by U.S. News & World Report.

Mayo Clinic works with hundreds of insurance companies and is an in-network provider for millions of people. In most cases, Mayo Clinic doesn't require a physician referral. Some insurers require referrals or may have additional requirements for certain medical care. All appointments are prioritized on the basis of medical need.

Specialists in neuro-oncology at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, treat people 16 years and older, but may see younger teenagers on a case-by-case basis. Younger teenagers may also be seen in conjunction with Nemours Children's Clinic in Jacksonville.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 904-953-0853 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

At Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, pediatric specialists in neuro-oncology, neurology, neurosurgery, radiology, endocrinology, radiation oncology, psychology and brain rehabilitation, along with other specialists as needed, work together to determine the treatment plan for each child.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 507-538-3270 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

See information on patient services at the three Mayo Clinic locations, including transportation options and lodging.

The Mayo Clinic Cancer Center is designated as a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute — recognition for an institution's scientific excellence and multidisciplinary resources focused on cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Mayo Clinic Cancer Center received a National Cancer Institute-sponsored Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant for brain cancer research.

Mayo Clinic researchers involved in pediatric hematology and oncology research are working to better understand how and why pediatric brain tumors develop and how to best stop their growth.

See a list of publications by Mayo Clinic authors on pediatric brain tumors on PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine.

May 07, 2015