About Childhood Brain Cancer

About Childhood Brain Cancer

What is a brain tumour?

Brain tumours include types of brain cancer, however not all brain tumours are cancerous.

Brain tumours are the growth of abnormal cells in the tissues of the brain or central nervous system (CNS). Brain tumours can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). They are among the most common types of childhood cancers. Tumours in the brain or CNS can affect the brain’s ability to work normally.

You can read more about paediatric brain cancer stats here

Common types of brain cancer


Read more about ependymoma here

Medulloblastoma / PNET

Read more about medulloblastoma here

Diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPG)

Read more about DIPG here


Read more about astrocytoma here


It’s important to recognise that symptoms vary between children and it’s best to discuss any new symptom with your doctor.

Common brain tumour symptoms include:

  • Headache or pressure in the head
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Vision changes
  • Weakness or numbness and tingling on one side of the body
  • Problems with thinking, remembering or speaking

Common spinal cord tumor symptoms include:

  • Back pain
  • Weakness in the arms or legs
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms, legs or trunk
  • Problems going to the bathroom or problems controlling bowel or bladder function


Talk to your child’s medical team about treatment options, as they will vary depending on the tumour type.

Useful links

Cancer Australia (Australian government website)

CERN (ependymoma specific)

Peter Mac (using virtual reality to help prepare kids for radiotherapy)

Royal Children’s Hospital