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What Is Medulloblastoma?

Medulloblastoma (meh-dull-oh-blass-TOE-muh) is a cancerous type of brain tumor. It develops in the cerebellum, a part of the brain near the bottom of the skull. Medulloblastoma can spread to the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord).

Most brain tumors in children are medulloblastoma.

What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Medulloblastoma?

Sometimes brain cells grow in a way they shouldn't and form a

As the pressure gets higher, it begins to cause symptoms. These get worse over a few weeks to a few months.

Symptoms that parents might notice include:

  • nighttime or early-morning headaches
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • trouble walking
  • dizziness
  • double vision
  • clumsiness

What Causes Medulloblastoma?

Doctors don't know what causes medulloblastoma. A few children who have it are thought to have a genetic problem that puts them at risk for this type of brain tumor.

Who Gets Medulloblastoma?

Medulloblastoma usually affects children between 5 and 9 years old. Most cases are diagnosed before age 20. It's rare in adults.

How Is Medulloblastoma Diagnosed?

Doctors often do an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of the brain to check for a tumor. This is a safe way to get detailed images of the brain without using radiation.

If a brain tumor is found, the surgeon does an operation to get a sample of the tumor (a biopsy), and removes some or all of the tumor when possible. Tumor cells are examined, and identifying the types of cells can confirm a medulloblastoma diagnosis.

Some of the tumor cells undergo genetic testing to look for changes in the