Brain Tumor and Spinal Tumor Program

Brain Stem Glioma

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What do I have?

These are gliomas that are found in the brainstem. Gliomas are tumors that develop from glial cells. The most common type of brainstem glioma is an astrocytoma. Like astrocytomas elsewhere in the brain, they can be slow growing or fast growing.

What does it do?

The brainstem is a small but essential part of the brain that controls many of our motor and sensory functions. Many nerves that control the eyes, face and throat also come from the brainstem. It is also the part of the brain that controls many of our automatic functions such as heart rate and breathing. A tumor in the brainstem can affect any of these functions, depending on where it is located. Common symptoms that brainstem gliomas cause are double vision, trouble swallowing, facial weakness, or weakness of the left or right side.


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Condition Facts

  • Can be low or high grade
  • Occurs most often in children ages 3-10 but can occur in Adults
  • Common symptoms: headache, nausea, speech or balance abnormalities, difficulty swallowing, facial weakness, double vision.