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What is Medulloblastoma?

Medulloblastoma in adults are brain tumors that begin in the lower back region of the brain. It is often mistaken for being a childhood disease, but it is also found in adults between the ages of 21 and 40. The incidence in adults sharply decreases at age 45. Medulloblastoma originates in the cerebellum, but it can spread to the spine via the fluid that connects the brain and the spine (known as cerebrospinal fluid, or CSF). The tumors are usually detectable within one to three months of the outset of the first symptoms. Symptoms are most noticeable upon awakening and can include flu-like symptoms such as lethargy, loss of appetite, headaches, vomiting and sight problems. These typically get better as the day progresses. It can also cause problems with balance, posture and speech. For more information about Medulloblastoma, or to schedule an appointment, call (407) 303-1700 or click here to fill out an online assistance form.

Because this is a fast growing tumor, doctors at the Florida Hospital Brain and Spinal Cancer Program will begin treatment quickly to ensure the best possible outcomes.

Causes of Medulloblastoma

Currently, the cause of an Medulloblastoma is unknown, but scientists are working to find more evidence as to why these tumors are created.

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Symptoms of Medulloblastoma

Signs and symptoms of Medulloblastoma may include the following:

  • Headaches that occur in the morning and improve as the day progresses
  • Headaches that occur while coughing or during physical activity
  • Vomiting soon after awakening
  • Clumsiness or unsteadiness
  • Seizures
  • Swollen optic nerve (papilledema)

For more information about Medulloblastoma, or to schedule an appointment, call (407) 303-1700 or click here to fill out an online assistance form.

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Tests to Diagnose Medulloblastoma

The following tests may be ordered to diagnose Medulloblastoma:

CT (computerized tomography) scan
A CT scan takes a series of x-rays that allows the physician to see a three-dimensional picture of the inside of your body. The CT scan is painless and lasts for only a few minutes. Using a small amount of radiation, the scan will be harmless to you and to those around you. An injection of dye is given in order to let the physician see certain areas more clearly. The injection may make you feel warm or hot all over for a few seconds. Be sure to tell your doctor if you have an allergy to iodine or if you have asthma, as this could lead to a more serious reaction. 

MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging) scan
An MRI is similar to a CT scan but uses magnetism instead of x-rays to build up a detailed picture of the areas in your body. Before the scan you may be asked to remove any metal belongings, as well as jewelry. An injection of dye may be given into a vein in your arm, helping the images to show up more clearly. During the scan you will lie on a table inside a long cylinder for approximately 30 minutes. The scan is painless but may be slightly uncomfortable. The MRI technician will help make you as comfortable as possible and will give you earplugs or headphones to reduce the noise from the machine.

For more information about Medulloblastoma, or to schedule an appointment, call (407) 303-1700 or click here to fill out an online assistance form. 

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Treatments for Medulloblastoma

Physicians at Florida Hospital Cancer Institute will treat an Medulloblastoma with surgery in order to remove as much of the tumor as possible. This may or may not be followed up with radiation therapy. Depending on the size and location of the tumor, it may be removed entirely, allowing for a better chance of long-term survivial. Radiation therapy may be used in conjuction with surgery in order to kill any tumor cells that may not have been removed during surgery. Chemotherapy is also an option for tumors that may grow back after radiation. 

Surgery

For more information about Medulloblastoma, or to schedule an appointment, call (407) 303-1700 or click here to fill out an online assistance form. 

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