Craniopharyngiomas
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What are Craniopharyngiomas?

Craniopharyngioma is an uncommon form of benign (noncancerous) brain tumor. Craniopharyngioma develops near the pituitary gland in the brain, which secretes hormones that regulate numerous bodily activities. A craniopharyngioma can harm the pituitary gland and other surrounding brain regions as it grows slowly.

They could also develop and encroach on neighboring brain structures such hypothalamus, optic chiasm, optic nerves, and fluid-filled areas. This could lead to issues with hormone production, eyesight, and growth. The majority of the time, children and young adults get craniopharyngiomas.

Craniopharyngiomas are most typically encountered in children aged 5 to 14. These tumors can, however, occur in adults over the age of 50.

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Types

  • Adamantinomatous craniopharyngiomas (ACPs) are a deadly type of brain tumor that typically affects young patients. These tumors can be partially solid and partially cystic and are heterogeneous, meaning they contain a variety of cell types (fluid).
  • Papillary craniopharyngiomas (PCPs) are uncommon forms of craniopharyngiomas (CPs), which are benign epithelial neoplasms of the sellar and suprasellar area. PCPs are usually made up of well-differentiated stratified squamous epithelium, but localized deviations are prevalent.

Causes

There is currently no known cause for craniopharyngioma. Tests on the blood and urine can reveal a hormonal imbalance that may be brought on by a pituitary gland issue.

Risk factors

There is no known cause for craniopharyngioma, and there are no known risk factors. Craniopharyngiomas have the potential to become fatally serious. The tumor itself is not harmful, but its effects on the nearby pituitary gland may cause a reduction in the production of several hormones, which may have a negative impact on growth and other essential biological processes.

Symptoms

The presence of symptoms is determined by the location and size of the tumor. Some tumors can be enormous before causing symptoms, while others can be extremely small. These signs include:

  • Headache
  • Loss of peripheral vision
  • Weakness in eye movement or double vision
  • Vomiting
  • Changes in personality and bewilderment
  • Hypothalamic dysfunction and hormonal deficiency
  • Excessive urination and thirst (diabetes insipidus)
  • Children’s stunted growth or delayed puberty Fatigue
  • Increased drowsiness, hyperphagia, and weight gain Hot/cold intolerance
  • Fatigue
  • Low blood pressure
Fatigue

Diagnosis

Your doctor can suggest an MRI or CT scan of the region surrounding the pituitary gland if they have reason to believe you have a craniopharyngioma. These examinations can give a clear picture of the pituitary gland and brain and aid in differentiating a craniopharyngioma from other pituitary tumors.

Blood and urine tests can reveal a hormonal imbalance caused by a pituitary gland disease.

If your doctor suggests a biopsy, the tumor may be diagnosed as well as removed.

Treatment

These treatments may be performed by healthcare professionals:

  • For persons with craniopharyngioma, surgery to remove all or most of the tumor is usually advised.
  • External beam radiation therapy may be used to treat craniopharyngioma after surgery. To kill tumor cells, this treatment employs high-energy beams such as X-rays and protons.
  • Chemotherapy can be injected directly into the tumor, ensuring that the treatment hits the target cells while causing no harm to surrounding healthy tissue.
  • Papillary craniopharyngioma is a rare kind of craniopharyngioma that may respond to Targeted therapy.
  • Clinical trials are research investigations that look at new medicines or new ways to use existing ones.

When do we see a doctor?

If you have persistent symptoms that worry you, schedule a visit with your doctor. For the best outcome, early detection and treatment are essential.

Prevention

These cancers cannot be prevented. These tumors form as a result of changes in your or your child’s cells that occurred during the formation of your or your child’s body. It would be great if doctors were able to detect it as soon as feasible.

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