Brain Tumour In Children: 6 Warning Signs You Must Know

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Brain Tumour

An abnormal growth of cells that can develop in the brain or in close proximity to it is called a tumour. The tumours can be present in nearby areas such as the pituitary gland, nerves, the pineal gland, and the brain’s protective membranes or originate within the brain tissue itself.

  • Primary brain tumours are the tumours that begin in the brain
  • Secondary brain tumours, or metastatic brain tumours, are cancers that have spread to the brain from other parts of the body.

Some brain tumours can be symptomatic since the beginning and small while some others can grow in size significantly before the symptoms start to show. Treatment options may vary from radiation therapy to surgery, depending on the size, type and location of the brain tumour.There are two types of tumours classified as malignant and benign, both originating from the brain. 

  • Benign tumours do not consist of cancer cells and typically do not reoccur once removed. They usually do not invade nearby tissue, although they may cause symptoms based on their size and location within the brain.
  • Malignant tumours contain cancer cells and tend to grow rapidly, infiltrating nearby tissue. While they can spread to other parts of the brain or the spinal cord, they generally do not metastasize to other areas of the body. Malignant brain tumours have the potential to recur following treatment.

6 Warning Signs of Brain Tumour in Children

1. Balance Issues

If the tumour is close to the brain stem, it might lead to issues with balance. It is normal for toddlers to stumble and fall in their day-to-day lives. However, there is a significant deterioration in balance when it comes to children with tumours. If an older child experiences a sudden difficulty in maintaining balance, seek medical assistance immediately to identify the underlying cause. 

2. Headache

Many children who are diagnosed with brain tumours are found to be having headaches as a precursor. One important indicator to be noted is a headache that intensifies in the morning. This is because when lying down, the pressure in the brain rises, and a tumour can exacerbate this condition.

3. Seizures 

When a brain tumour is located on the outer layer of the brain, it might induce seizures. Seizures can be triggered by even simple activities, such as laughter. The underlying cause of a seizure could be a tumour or another factor, but it is essential to assess seizures thoroughly. Hence, consulting a doctor is important.

4. Personality Change

Personality changes are common when kids are growing up, but in a few circumstances, these changes might be due to a brain tumour that is impacting the cerebral cortex. If a child has abrupt or severe mood swings or alterations in personality, it is advised to inform the doctor about it.

5. Speech, Hearing or Vision change

A brain tumour’s effect on vision, hearing, and speech varies depending on its location. These challenges can also arise in children without any connection to a brain tumour. However, it is advisable to seek evaluation from a medical professional.

6. Nausea and Vomiting

Nausea and vomiting are usually symptoms of the flu or flu-like illnesses. However, in uncommon cases, these indications may be due to a brain tumour leading to heightened pressure within the brain. If these signs persist or are accompanied by a headache, it is better to consult your child’s paediatrician.

Diagnosis of Brain Tumour in Children

 After getting to know about the child’s history, the doctor decides on the tests that need to be done. It normally involves one or multiple tests from below: 

  • A CT scan 
  • An MRI
  • Lumbar puncture
  • In a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan
  • Biopsies 
  • Blood tests

In the tests taken, if a brain tumour is detected, further course of action is to schedule a consultation with a pediatric neurosurgeon. This specialist will discuss with the family about a customized treatment plan for the child.

Additional experts might also be involved in the child’s care team, which might include a pediatric oncologist, an epileptologist, an ophthalmologist, a radiation oncologist, as well as advanced practitioners and technologists.

Treatment for Brain Tumour in Children  

It is important to choose a healthcare team with expertise and advancements in treating brain tumours in children, as they are not very common. The treatment for brain tumours might involve a combination of the following:

  • Surgery: Normally, surgery is the first step in treating brain tumours. The goal will be to remove as many tumours as possible without causing damage to the brain.
  • Chemotherapy: These medications are used to destroy cancer cells or stop their growth. They can be administered intravenously, taken orally or injected into tissue.
  • Targeted therapy: This treatment option focuses on specific components of cancer cells.
  • Radiation therapy: High-energy X-rays or other types of radiation are used to destroy the cancer cells or stunt their growth.
  • High-dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplant: Stem cells acquired from either the child or another individual are collected. Simultaneously, a substantial amount of chemotherapy medication is administered that damages the bone marrow. The stem cells are reintroduced after chemotherapy.

Additional treatments include:

  • Corticosteroids
  • Anti-seizure medicine
  • Ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shun
  • Supportive care
  • Antibiotics
  • Hormones


Depending on where the tumour is placed in their brains, children might be suffering from either cancerous or noncancerous brain tumours. With advancements in diagnoses and treatment, the survival rates for many children have greatly improved. But there are tumours which still pose a threat. Support groups are available both locally and online to provide resources and connect families facing similar challenges.


1. What are the symptoms of a child’s brain tumour?

Brain tumours generally come with symptoms like elevated intracranial pressure, headaches, and nausea. There might be issues regarding balance, coordination and double vision.


The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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