My name is Dan Couture, I'm a Pediatric Neurosurgeon here at Wake Forest Baptist Health. Pediatric brain tumors are different in children than we see in adults very frequently- we see much more of a different type of tumors and they're usually have a much better prognosis than we see in adults. The typical brain tumors that we see in children are the low-grade astrocytomas, and pilocytic astrocytoma, and we also see a lot of medulloblastomas which is a malignant form of brain tumor. There are really over about a hundred brain tumors that we can see in children, but they're very different in children than they are in adults. We're very fortunate here in that we have a whole team of doctors that take care of children with brain tumors.
We have the neurosurgeons like myself who do the surgeries, as well as the pediatric neuro-oncologists who treat with chemotherapy regimens s well as the pediatric radiation oncologists who use radiation to treat the tumors. Usually there's a combination of those three options, but frequently we're fortunate that we don't have to do the radiation or the chemotherapy- and surgery alone is enough for these brain tumors. We've had some real success stories in terms of new managements and treatment including new types of radiation treatment- better radiation. We have some new chemotherapy regimens and we have some advances in surgical techniques as well including endoscopy, minimally invasive techniques, and some image guidance that makes them even safer than they've ever been before. We're fortunate here to have one of the few Gamma Knifes in the country which gives us an excellent treatment option for treating brain tumors in a way that we can use very focused radiation that has less side effects on the normal parts of the brain.
I think Brenner Children's Hospital is a great place for any child to go who has any type of injury, but especially with brain tumors we have a really great team and that helps- not just the doctors - neurosurgeons like myself, the neuroradiologists, the neuro-oncologists, the radiation oncologists- but also the rest of the team such as the nurses, the Child Life specialists, the social workers, the caseworkers, all of them really play a role in helping take care of the child and giving them a different aspect than we can for adults as well.
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