What is a craniopharyngioma?
A craniopharyngioma is a low grade brain tumour which affects people of all ages but predominantly children and young adults.
Craniopharyngioma tumours are most often diagnosed between the ages of 5-15 but could also present at 45-60.
Due to their position at the lower part of the brain and close to the pituitary gland, these tumours are associated with specific symptoms such as problems with vision and growth. Other symptoms that may present due to a craniopharyngioma are hydrocephalus, diabetes and personality changes.
How are craniopharyngiomas treated?
The primary element of standard treatment for a craniopharyngioma is neurosurgery surgery to remove as much of the tumour as possible.
In some cases, craniopharyngiomas contain fluid or invade neighbouring tissue making it very hard to remove the tumour completely. If this is the case your surgeon may be able to help the fluid drain by creating a passage in the liquid-filled spaces of the brain known as ventricles.
After surgery is complete, it’s likely you’ll also have some form of radiotherapy to target any tumour cells that couldn’t be removed. Radiotherapy can also slow down the growth of the tumour and help keep it under control.
In some cases, your specialist may suggest stereotactic radiotherapy or proton beam therapy, for example, if the tumour is small or has well defined borders.
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