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Surgery is an important first step in treating many childhood brain tumors. For some children, it is the only treatment needed.

Treating Brain Tumors with Surgery

There are many reasons your child may need to have surgery. Depending on the size, location, and type of brain tumor, surgery can be used to biopsy the tumor, remove it, or help relieve symptoms.

With some brain tumors, surgery can remove the entire tumor and is the only treatment necessary.

With other kinds of tumors, surgery can leave behind tumor cells doctors can’t see, and your child may need additional treatment to keep the cells from growing into new tumors.

When a tumor grows deep in the brain or near a delicate part of the brain, it often can’t be removed by surgery. Your child’s doctor may also discourage surgery because the tumor is growing mixed with healthy brain tissue, and the surgeon can’t remove the tumor without causing damage. In those cases, doctors may make a diagnosis about the kind of tumor using MRI images alone.

Talking to Your Child About Surgery

Age-appropriate videos can help parents and caregivers talk with children about cancer. The Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation’s Imaginary Friend Society is a series of short, animated videos that talk about cancer-related topics in a kid-friendly way. In the following video, Ralph, the toughest part-hippo, part-mountain-goat, all-imaginary-friend, helps explain what surgery is.


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