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II. Primary Neoplasms in Children

A.  General Characteristics

  • Nervous system tumors are the second most common neoplasm in children (leukemia is first) and are usually primary.
  • Brain tumors are usually infratentorial, most often in the cerebellum in children.
  • The three most common are:   pilocytic astrocytoma, medulloblastoma, ependymoma.  These will be described in more detail in subsequent pages.   Less common types are retinoblastoma, which occurs in the retina or optic nerve, and neuroblastoma, which arises from neurons and most commonly occurs in peripheral nervous system ganglia.
  • Signs and symptoms are generally those of posterior fossa space-occupying lesions, including: headache, especially on waking, nausea, vomiting, papilledema, signs of cerebellar dysfunction.