40% of all cancers spread to the brain
Brain stem gliomas are particularly difficult to treat, whatever their grade.
The brain stem is such a complicated and delicate part of the brain that completely removing the tumour is usually not possible. Unfortunately, high doses of radiotherapy are not recommended either as this may cause too much damage to the normal brain stem.
Brain stem glioma occurs most commonly in children between five and 10 years old. This is usually in the form of Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma. Most brain stem tumours develop in the pons and grow in a part of the brain stem where it can be difficult to perform surgery, making brain stem glioma challenging to treat.
Brain stem glioma accounts for approximately 15% of childhood brain tumours.