Pineoblastoma is a type of cancer that starts in the pineal gland cells, which are located in the center of the brain. This type of cancer mainly affects the function of the pineal gland and other surrounding structures. The pineal gland is responsible for the production of a hormone called melatonin. Melatonin regulates an individual’s natural sleep-wake cycle. Pineoblastoma patients will experience sleepiness, headaches, and changes in regular eye movements. Symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, weakness, and hearing problems can occur when pineoblastoma begins to compress other parts of the brain. Pineoblastoma is diagnosed using medical imaging tests, a biopsy, and a spinal tap. Because it can spread throughout the brain and into the cerebrospinal fluid surrounding the brain, this type of cancer can be particularly challenging to treat. However, pineoblastoma does not typically spread outside of the central nervous system.
Many methods can be utilized to treat pineoblastoma. Learn about them now.
Relieve Fluid Buildup
Individuals affected by pineoblastoma may experience what is called hydrocephalus, or a build-up of fluid in the ventricles of the brain. Pineoblastoma may grow to the point where it blocks the flow and drainage of the cerebrospinal fluid from the brain. As a result, the extra fluid that accumulates in the ventricles causes them to become enlarged and puts too much pressure on the brain. This excess pressure on the delicate tissues of the brain results in tissue damage and numerous brain function impairments.
When hydrocephalus occurs because of pineoblastoma, a surgical procedure to relieve the build-up of this fluid is an essential part of treatment. This goal is usually accomplished by the surgical insertion of a shunt or a drainage system. A shunt is a lengthy flexible tube equipped with a valve to keep the cerebrospinal fluid flowing in the correct direction at a regular rate. One end of the shunt is placed into a ventricle in the brain, and the other end is threaded to another region of the body that can better absorb the fluid, like the abdomen. Another method of removing fluid build up in the brain is through a ventriculostomy. During this procedure, the surgeon creates a small drainage hole in the bottom of one of the brain’s ventricles that allows fluid to escape.
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