Brain cancer and brain tumors are significantly different in children than in adults and it demands different treatment as well. DIPG Cancer is a deadly form of brain tumors among kids. Below in this article, you will learn more about DIPG Cancer, its symptoms, prognosis and survival rates.
DIPG stands for diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma. It arises in the pons, a region of the brainstem involved in critical body functions. It is a kind of high-grade glioma, that originates from cells called glia that surround, shield, and support the nerve cells in the brain. Diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas account for 10 percent of all childhood central nervous system tumors.
Diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas account for 10 percent of all childhood central nervous system tumors. Around 300 children in the U.S. are diagnosed with DIPG every year. DIPGs are normally diagnosed between the ages of 5 and 9. These tumors occur both in boys and girls and do not usually develop in adults. DIGP represents the leading cause of death from pediatric brain cancer due to lack of effective therapies.
let`s have a detail note on, what is DIPG cancer? what are the symptoms? and the survival rate of DIGP?
DIPG Cancer (Brain Tumors in Kids)
DIPG (Diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas) are extremely aggressive and hard to treat brain tumors located at the base of the brain. They are glial tumors, means that they emerge from the brain’s glial tissue—tissue made up of cells that help support and protect the brain’s neurons.
These tumors are located in an area of the brainstem called the pons, which regulates several vital functions of the body such as breathing, blood pressure, and heart rate.
DIPG Cancer Symptoms
As brainstem regulate blood pressure, breathing, and various other significant life functions, DIPG can cause notable neurological problems. Pontine gliomas often influence the cranial nerves, so many of DIPG’s early symptoms develop in the facial muscles, often affecting the eye and eyelid movements.
The tumor spreads so fast that symptoms usually emerges abruptly and get worse quickly. The most frequent symptoms of DIPG are:
- Facial weakness, drooping on one side of the face.
- An appearance of hearing problems, including deafness.
- choking while eating and difficulty in chewing or swallowing.
- Limb weakness, problem in standing or walking, abnormal gaits and unbalanced limb movements
- Problems with eye movement. The most regular one is difficulty in looking to the side. Double vision is common due to the loss of alignment of the eyes. Other problems of eye movement include drooping eyelids and disability to close the eyes perfectly. Usually, the problems are seen in both eyes.
- Nausea and vomiting because of brain edema or hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus is a condition in which the flow of cerebrospinal fluid around the brain is blocked, causing an increase in pressure inside the skull. Nearly 10 percent of DIPG patients have hydrocephalus at the time of diagnosis.
Most children with headaches do not have brain tumors, but anybody with neurological symptoms as given above should be assessed by a physician.
DIPG Cancer Survival Rates
Progress in medical science in the past 40 years have considerably improved the survival rates for children diagnosed with most types of cancer. The medical advancement for some cancers has been tremendous. For example, the survival rate for children with acute lymphocytic leukemia has increased from less than 10 percent in the 1960s to nearly 90 percent today. Overall, the survival rate for children with cancer is about 83 percent.
But the medical advancement has done nothing for DIPG. Brain tumors remain the most common cause of cancer-related death in children, and DIPG is the leading reason of death from pediatric brain tumors. A child diagnosed with DIPG today faces the same prognosis as a child diagnosed 40 years ago. There is no efficient treatment and no possibility of survival. Only 10% of children with DIPG survive for 2 years following their diagnosis, and less than 1% survive for 5 years.
Treatment of DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma)
Unfortunately, treatment options for DIPG are currently very limited. Those who are looking for the treatment options for patients with DIPG should know that the tumors can’t be removed surgically because the tumor cells are all intermixed with the normal cells in the brainstem that are important for vital functions like breathing.
Although radiation cannot make the tumor go away permanently, Radiation therapy has been proven to shrink the tumors and let kids with DIPG live longer.
Researchers have tried many chemotherapy drugs for DIPG, but so far, none of them has worked. The absence of treatment opportunities and the reality that nearly all DIPG patients die within two years of diagnosis.
DIPG Treatment Research
Historically, the main barrier to DIPG research has been a shortage of tumor tissue. But with more and more biopsies, and with courageous families granting their children’s tumors to study after their death, researchers have been capable of gaining some promising discoveries in the past several years. learned a lot about the genetic changes associated with DIPG, which can serve as targets for new therapies. We’ve also seen some success with new medicines in laboratory models of DIPG, and we’re finding more effective methods to deliver those medicines to the tumor.
Much has been learned about the genetic changes linked with DIPG, which can work as targets for new therapies. Some success has been noticed with new medicines in laboratory models of DIPG. These innovative strategies have started to be used in clinical trials. Doctors are optimistic about having more effective treatments within the near future.