Childhood astrocytoma is a disease in which benign (noncancer) or malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the brain.
Astrocytomas are tumors that start in star-shaped brain cells called astrocytes. An astrocyte is a type of glial cell. Glial cells hold nerve cells in place and help them work the way they should. There are several types of astrocytomas. They can form anywhere in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).
Although cancer is rare in children, central nervous system (CNS) tumors are the most common type of childhood cancer after leukemia and lymphoma.
Information is included about the following tumors that form from glial cells:
Metastatic brain tumors are formed by cancer cells that begin in other parts of the body and spread to the brain.
Brain tumors can occur in both children and adults. However, treatment for children may be different than treatment for adults.
The central nervous system controls many important body functions.
Astrocytomas most commonly form in these parts of the central nervous system (CNS):