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Home :: Craniopharyngioma

Craniopharyngioma: Getting Down to the Facts

When the word tumor starts to be thrown around, it most definitely stirs up a bit of a ruckus and of course concern. There is a wide variety, as well as severity, of types of tumors that all have their own symptoms, causes, concerns, etc. One specific tumor is that of the craniopharyngioma.

Craniopharyngiomas are benign, which means non-cancerous, slow-growing, extraaxial tumors that occur only in the area around the sella turcia. The sella turcia is a bony impression that is located at the base of one’s skull, generally where the pituitary gland is located. It’s is assumed that the tumor is developed from squamous cell clusters, or nests, of the hypohyseal stalk which is what connects the pituitary gland to the brain. In terms of the tumor itself, generally it can be solid, cystic (which means full of fluid or full of depris) and they might show different degrees of calcification. Craniopharyngiomas do not produce hormones and luckily they are slow-growing and can take years to develop before a usual diagnosis can be made.

Commonly found in children and adolescence, generally discovered at the age of 5 to 10 years, craniopharyngiomas represent up to an astonishing thirteen percent of all of the different types of brain tumors that occur in children. Unfortunately, the main trigger or cause for a craniopharyngioma is still unknown and they are congenital in origin.

Symptoms for a craniopharyngiomas all depend on the tumor’s location. Headache, vomiting, vertigo and nausea are all common symptoms found amongst patients that do in fact have a craniopharyngioma. Once one is diagnosed with this specific type of tumor, ophthalmological and/or endocrinological baseline evaluations are preformed quite frequently. The most common form of treatment is surgery, but there have been occasions where radiation therapy has been an appropriate form of treatment.

However, surgery is the most common treatment amongst children. This specific type of tumor, although benign, can be rather alarming for those who have been diagnosed with it. To avoid any future complications, it is very production and helpful to actively participate in early treatment. Keep in mind, the overall prognosis of a craniopharyngioma is good but every case is different and it is important to follow up with the necessary care if diagnosed in order to avoid complications.


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