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Brain Tumors in Children

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Dec 2, 2022.

A brain tumor is a mass that grows in your child's brain, or in an area near the brain. Examples include nerves in your child's skull, his or her pituitary gland, or the membranes that cover the brain. The tumor may start in your child's brain or travel to his or her brain from another body area. There are many kinds of brain tumors. Each kind is named for where it begins and what it does in the brain. A tumor may be malignant (cancer), or benign (not cancer). It may grow quickly or slowly.

Brain Anatomy


Call 911 if:

  • Your child's arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your child has new problems walking or moving one side of his or her body.
  • Your child has new or worsening headaches or body swelling.
  • Your child has a seizure.

Contact your child's healthcare provider if:

  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.


Your child may need any of the following:

  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Do not wait until your child's pain is severe to give more medicine.
  • Anticonvulsants may be given to prevent or control seizures.
  • Steroids may be given to reduce swelling.
  • Do not give aspirin to children younger than 18 years. Your child could develop Reye syndrome if he or she has the flu or a fever and takes aspirin. Reye syndrome can cause life-threatening brain and liver damage. Check your child's medicine labels for aspirin or salicylates.
  • Give your child's medicine as directed. Contact your child's healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell the provider if your child is allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs your child takes. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list or the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your child's healthcare provider as directed:

Your child's healthcare provider may suggest tests such as an MRI or PET scan every 3 months. These tests help check for new or returning tumors. Work with your child's healthcare providers to create a follow-up care plan that is right for your child.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

View more treatment options

Manage your child's symptoms:

  • Support your child. A brain tumor can change the way your child acts, thinks, and feels. His or her memory, concentration, and ability to learn may decline. He or she may act without thinking or become more emotional. Talk with family and friends about these changes and about continuing care, treatments, and home services. Take your child to all follow-up appointments. Your child may also need to work with a tutor if he or she has trouble with schoolwork.
  • Have your child rest as needed. He or she may need more rest than usual, especially after cancer treatment.
  • Do not let your adolescent smoke. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can cause brain and lung damage. Ask a healthcare provider for information if your adolescent currently smokes and needs help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your adolescent's healthcare provider before he or she uses these products.
  • Have your child eat a variety of healthy foods. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, fish, nuts, and cooked beans. Have your child eat small meals if he or she has any nausea. Ask if your child needs to be on a special diet.
  • Have your child exercise as directed. Exercise can increase your child's energy and help keep his or her immune system strong. Ask your child's healthcare provider how much exercise your child needs and which exercises are best for him or her.
  • Take your child to physical, occupational, or speech therapy as directed. A physical therapist can help your child build muscle strength and coordination. An occupational therapist can help your child find ways to do daily activities more easily. A speech therapist can help you if your child's tumor caused problems with speaking.

For support and more information:

  • American Brain Tumor Association
    8550 West Bryn Mawr Avenue, Suite 550
    Chicago , IL 60631
    Phone: 1- 800 - 886-2282
    Web Address:

© Copyright Merative 2022 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Brain Tumors

Treatment options

Care guides

Symptoms and treatments

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.