Medulloblastoma (patient information)

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What are the symptoms?

Who is at highest risk?


When to seek urgent medical care?

Treatment options

Diseases with similar symptoms

Where to find medical care for Medulloblastoma?


What to expect (Outlook/Prognosis)?

Possible complications

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Directions to Hospitals Treating Medulloblastoma

Risk calculators and risk factors for Medulloblastoma

Editor-in-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Phone:617-632-7753; Associate Editor-In-Chief: Jinhui Wu, M.D.


Medulloblastoma is a type of cancer affecting the brain. It was first reported by Dr. Bailey and Dr. Cushing in 1925. The cause of medulloblastoma is not clear. It can happen on both children and adults. Usual symptoms include headache, nausea and vomiting, ataxia and diplopia. Treatments include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of them. The prognosis of medulloblastoma is poor.

What are the symptoms of Medulloblastoma?

Usual symptoms mainly include symptoms of increased intracranial pressure and impairment of cerebellum.

Other health problems may also cause these symptoms. Only a doctor can tell for sure. A person with any of these symptoms should tell the doctor so that the problems can be diagnosed and treated as early as possible.

Who is at highest risk?

The cause of medulloblastoma is not fully known.


  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): Head MRI may be the most important test for the diagnosis of medulloblastoma. An MRI uses magnetic fields but which is a different imaging type from computed tomography (CT) to produce detailed images of the brain. Like computed tomography (CT), a contrast agent may be injected into a patient’s vein to create a better picture. MRI scan takes longer time than CT scan.
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan: Head CT scans are often used to diagnose medulloblastoma. It can confirm the location of the cancer and show the location where the cancer might have spread. These are helpful in staging the cancer and in determining whether surgery is a good treatment option.
  • Chest X-ray: This plain x-ray of your chest may be done to see if the cancer has spread to your lungs.
  • Whole Bone Scan: The goal of a whole body bone scan is to show if a cancer has metastasized to your bones.

When to seek urgent medical care??

Call your health care provider if symptoms of medulloblastoma develop. If you experience either of the following symptoms, seeking urgent medical care as soon as possible:

Treatment options

Patients with medulloblastoma have many treatment options. The selection depends on the stage of the tumor. The options are surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of these methods. Before treatment starts, ask your health care team about possible side effects and how treatment may change your normal activities. Because cancer treatments often damage healthy cells and tissues, side effects are common. Side effects may not be the same for each person, and they may change from one treatment session to the next.

  • Surgery: The selection of surgery depends on your cancer stage and general health. If permitted, the neurosurgeons prefer surgery for your medulloblastoma.
  • Radiation therapy: This is a cancer treatment to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing by using high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation.
  • Chemotherapy: The treatment is to use drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing.

Diseases with similar symptoms

Where to find medical care for Medulloblastoma?

Directions to Hospitals Treating medulloblastoma

Prevention of Medulloblastoma

For the risk factors are not clear, the preventive measure is unknown.

What to expect (Outlook/Prognosis)?

In general, the prognosis of medulloblastoma is poor and it depends on the following:

  • Whether or not the cancer can be removed by surgery
  • The stage of the cancer: the size of the tumor, whether the cancer has spread outside the brain
  • Whether the cancer has just been diagnosed or has recurred
  • The patient’s general health