What is Craniopharyngioma?

Craniopharyngioma is a low grade (benign) brain tumour which affects people of all ages but predominantly children and young adults. These tumours are found at the base of the brain close to the pituitary gland.

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?

Surgery

The first and main part of standard treatment for these tumours is 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 create a passage for the tumour's fluid to drain in the liquid-filled spaces of the brain known as ventricles.

Radiotherapy

You will also probably have radiotherapy after surgery. In some cases (for example if the tumour is small or it has well defined borders), your specialist may suggest stereotactic radiotherapy or proton beam therapy, which is targeted at the tumour.

Radiotherapy can slow down the growth of the tumour and keep it under control.

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