ON THIS PAGE: You will learn about how doctors describe a tumor’s growth or spread. This is called the stage. To see other pages in this guide, use the colored boxes on the right side of your screen, or click “Next” at the bottom.
Staging is a way of describing the size of a tumor, where it is located, if it is cancerous or where it has spread, and whether it is affecting other parts of the body. Doctors use diagnostic tests to determine the tumor’s stage, so staging may not be complete until all of the tests are finished. Knowing the stage helps the doctor to decide what kind of treatment is best and can help predict a patient’s prognosis (chance of recovery). There are different stage descriptions for different types of tumors.
Medulloblastoma in children is classified as either standard (average) risk or high risk, depending on the following factors: the child’s age, how much of the tumor remains after surgery, and whether the tumor has spread.
Standard-risk tumor. The tumor is almost completely removed during surgery, meaning that less than 1.5 cubic centimeters (cm) of the tumor remains after surgery. The tumor is in the very back part of the brain and has not spread to other areas of the brain and spinal cord.
High-risk tumor. This type of tumor has either spread to other parts of the brain or the spine, or it has not spread but more than 1.5 cubic cm of tumor remains after surgery.
Recurrent tumor. A recurrent tumor is a tumor that has come back after treatment. It may recur in the brain, spine, spinal fluid or, very rarely, elsewhere in the body. If there is a recurrence, the tumor may need to be staged again (called re-staging) using the system above.
Information about the tumor’s stage will help the doctor recommend a treatment plan for your child. Choose “Next” (below, right) to continue reading about treatment options for medulloblastoma. Or, use the colored boxes located on the right side of your screen to visit any section.