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About the Childhood Medulloblastoma Program

  • Medulloblastoma is a brain tumor that accounts for 15 to 20 percent of childhood brain tumors. Most medulloblastomas occur in children between the ages of three and eight, but they can be seen in children and adults of any age.

    As a pediatric cancer center, we have a top team of pediatric oncologists and neurologists who understand the specific needs of children with medulloblastoma. We also offer extra support services to children and families, including child life specialists, nutritionists, and counselors.

    We diagnose and treat children with medulloblastoma in conjunction with experts at our Childhood Brain Tumor Center.

    How We Diagnose and Treat Childhood Medulloblastoma

    Our physicians use many tests to diagnose medulloblastoma. In addition to physical examination, these tests may include advanced imaging studies, a biopsy, tissue analysis, and lumbar puncture (spinal tap).

    After diagnostic tests are complete, your child’s team of doctors will come together to determine the best treatment plan. Your child’s doctor will share the results and recommendations with you.

    We determine medulloblastoma treatment on several factors, including the child’s age and overall health, the type and stage of the tumor, the doctor’s expectations for how the tumor will behave, and your family’s preferences.

    The main treatments we use for medulloblastoma include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Surgery removes or reduces the size of the tumor and helps to relieve hydrocephalus symptoms, a build-up of cerebrospinal fluid that causes increased pressure in the brain.

    Clinical trials can also offer options for children with medulloblastoma.

    Your child’s medical team will continue to care for them after active treatment is complete. Follow-up care includes regular check-ups and monitoring, and support for your child’s mental, physical, and emotional health.

    Our pediatric cancer survivorship programs, including the Stop & Shop Family Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Outcomes Clinic for survivors of brain and spinal cord tumors, is here to provide your child and family with a wide variety of follow-up care.

    Childhood Medulloblastoma Clinical Trials and Research

    At Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s, we are consistently one of the most highly funded pediatric brain tumor centers in the United States. This funding means that we can offer unique access to groundbreaking clinical trials that test new approaches to treatment.

    Our researchers have made significant advancements in medulloblastoma care and treatment. One example is the discovery that medulloblastomas could be grouped into specific subtypes that each have a unique fingerprint. This discovery is the first step in using personalized medicine to treat medulloblastoma. Based on these results, specific molecularly targeted clinical trials for patients with two of these subgroups are now underway.

    Learn more about active clinical trials.

    Our Childhood Medulloblastoma Program Specialists

    At the core of the treatment team is a neuro-oncologist with medulloblastoma treatment expertise. Many of our brain tumor specialists are also active researchers, so our patients have access to clinical trials and the most advanced treatments.

    From there, we build a team that is best suited to carry out the patient’s treatment plan, including neurologists, neurosurgeons, and radiation oncologists. We round out the team with experts who help your child prepare for life during and after treatment, including psychiatrists and psychologists, child life specialists, social workers, nutritionists, and school specialists.

    See a complete list of our Childhood Brain Tumor Treatment Team.