Brain Tumors


A brain tumor is the result of uncontrolled growth of cells in the brain. Primary tumors start and grow in the brain, while secondary tumors form because a tumor located in another part of the body has metastasized. 


The symptoms a child with brain cancer experiences varies depending on the location and size of the tumor. Symptoms may include:

  • Headaches

  • Seizures

  • Increase sleep or fatigue

  • Speech changes

  • Cognitive decline

  • Personality changes


In order to diagnose brain cancer in a child, a doctor may complete a neurological exam that tests reflexes, muscle strength, alertness and balance, as well as several imaging tests, including computerized tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and x-rays.


Because their brains develop into adulthood, children who receive radiation treatment for brain tumors often experience long-term, critical side effects, including hearing loss, decline in memory and at times, paralysis. When compared to traditional radiation methods, proton therapy minimizes the risk for these impediments due to its precision and the sparing of healthy tissues.

Pencil beam scanning capabilities and image-based technology allow for high doses of protons to be administered to the tumor with reduced damage to the surrounding tissues and the optic nerve. Treatment is safe and non-invasive, and the Center’s treatment units have an open design, allowing children to comfortable remain in one position throughout treatment. Children can be up and moving again directly after treatment.


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