May 12, 2016 – Teenagers and Brain Tumors

May 5, 2016

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Anchor lead:  The most common type of tumor for teenagers and young adults is a brain tumor, Elizabeth Tracey reports

If you’re a teenager or young adult who develops cancer, chances are it’s a brain tumor, the most common type of cancer in this age group, recently released federal data indicate.  Jon Weingart, a neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins, says characterizing tumors that occur in this age group is very important clinically.

Weingart: One of the interesting things about these lower grade tumors in these younger age groups is that surgery seems to be able to play a more prominent role in changing the natural history of the problem. Part of that is because the cell growth characteristics of the tumor are less infiltrative.  So oftentimes in this younger population the tumor’s spread from the primary area into more normally functioning brain is over a smaller distance.   :31

Weingart says there are also genetic differences that manifest in adolescents and young adults that also are used to inform clinical choices and improve outcomes.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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