Definition: A medulloblastoma is a tumor that arises from immature cells in a part of the brain called the cerebellum. The cerebellum is a part of the brain responsible for balance and coordination. Medulloblastomas often spread via cerebrospinal fluid to the spine.
Symptoms: Medulloblastomas tend to protrude into the fourth ventricle blocking the flow of cerebrospinal fluid and leading to hydrocephalus, a build-up of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain. Increased intracranial pressure from hydrocephalus can cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, visual changes, and changes in behavior.
Evaluation: Medulloblastomas are evaluated with MRI or CT scans of the brain and spine.
- Surgery: Surgical biopsy and removal of as much of the tumor as possible without causing significant neurological damage is the first step in the treatment of a medulloblastoma.
- Radiation: Radiation therapy to the brain and spine are recommended after surgery.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is recommended along with radiation after surgery.
Follow-up: Long-term follow-up with regular brain scans and neurological exams is recommended to watch for tumor recurrence.