CRANIOPHARYNGIOMA is a type of Central Nervous System (CNS) tumor. A CNS tumor may be either cancerous or benign. CRANIOPHARYNGIOMA is considered a benign tumor, which means that it is usually slow-growing and very unlikely to spread.
It usually occurs in a part of the brain called the suprasellar region. This region is the area of the brain just above the sella that is the part of the skull where the pituitary gland is located. The pituitary gland is often called the “master endocrine gland” because it produces several different hormones that affect how the body functions. The optic nerves and the hypothalamus are located above the sella. The hypothalamus regulates hunger, body temperature, thirst, sleep, fatigue, and other behaviors.
CRANIOPHARYNGIOMA is a slow-growing tumor that may grow for many years before it is found. It may be solid and/or cystic. A cystic tumor has a closed pouch or sac that contains fluid made by the tumor. The solid part often contains areas of calcium that can easily be seen on a computed tomography scan. The cystic part of the tumor often contains very high amounts of protein.
Symptoms of CRANIOPHARYNGIOMA can be caused by hormonal changes, pressure building up in the brain, or by the tumor pressing on nerves or blood vessels so that the brain cannot function properly in those areas. Generally, it is not diagnosed until a child has symptoms.
-General symptoms include:
*Headaches, which may be severe and worse in the early morning.
*Nausea and/or vomiting.
*Difficulty with balance.
*Increased sleepiness or fatigue.
*Mood or behavior changes.
-Location-specific symptoms include:
*Obesity or excessive weight gain.
*Excessive thirst and increased urination.
*Vision changes, blurriness, or loss of peripheral vision.
*Slow or halted growth.
*Early or delayed puberty.
If you are concerned about any changes your child experiences, the Institute of Interventional Oncology (IDOI México) recommends you to talk with your doctor to help you figure out the cause of the problem.