Brainstem gliomas start in the brain or spinal cord tissue and are very unlikely to spread throughout the nervous system. The tumour type is named for its location at the base of the brain. Diffuse Midline Glioma are generally high-grade tumours that infiltrate through the entire substance of the brain stem.
Common symptoms include, but are not necessarily limited to:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Double vision
- Facial weakness
- Speech or balance abnormalities
- Weakness or numbness of the arms and/or legs
Treatment/Standard of Care
Surgery may not be an option, especially with a diffuse intrinsic brainstem glioma, because the brainstem controls vital life functions and can easily be damaged. More often, these tumours are treated with radiation therapy and sometimes chemotherapy.
Radiation therapy can reduce symptoms and help slow the tumour’s growth.