Treatment for medulloblastoma is based on the following:
- A child’s age
The type of tumor
Whether the tumor has spread
What doctors can tell about how the tumor will behave
Now that we know there are four distinct subtypes of medulloblastoma, doctors believe this will lead to treatments that can be designed for each type of tumor, with fewer side effects, and better chances of cure.
Currently, the first step in treatment is to surgically remove as much of the tumor as possible, followed by radiation therapy to the brain and spinal cord, then chemotherapy.
When patients are younger than 3, doctors try to avoid radiation because it can affect a child’s long-term development. Children of this age will begin chemotherapy after surgery, and may receive radiation treatment when they are older.
For children old enough to receive radiation therapy, Cincinnati Children’s is one of only a few pediatric centers in the nation that offers proton beam radiotherapy. This is a highly precise type of radiation that goes to the tumor and spares damage to nearby tissues and organs as much as possible. Chemotherapy follows the radiation treatment.
We also participate in treatment studies that may be helpful; our treatment team will help guide you in deciding what is best for your child.