DIPG Cancer: What You Need to Know
DIPG cancer is a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer that affects children. It is typically diagnosed in children between the ages of 4 and 11, and is the leading cause of death from pediatric brain tumors. Despite advances in medical technology, DIPG remains largely incurable. This article will cover what DIPG is, its symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and outlook.
What Is DIPG?
DIPG stands for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma. It is a tumor that grows on the brain stem, which connects the spinal cord to the brain. The tumor cells are extremely difficult to remove as they are intertwined with healthy tissue. This means that treatment options are limited.
Symptoms of DIPG
The most common symptom of DIPG is difficulty with balance and coordination. Other signs and symptoms can include: changes in vision, headaches, vomiting, facial weakness or paralysis, hearing loss, difficulty swallowing, trouble speaking or forming words, fatigue, sleepiness, and seizures. Symptoms may vary depending on where the tumor is located.
A diagnosis of DIPG is usually made using imaging scans such as an MRI. A biopsy may also be done to confirm the diagnosis. During a biopsy, a small sample of tissue is taken from the tumor and examined under a microscope.
Treatment for DIPG
Unfortunately, there is no cure for DIPG. Treatment typically involves radiation therapy to help shrink the tumor and reduce symptoms. Chemotherapy may also be used in combination with radiation therapy to help slow the growth of the tumor. Surgery is not an option due to the difficulty in removing the tumor cells without damaging healthy tissue.
The prognosis for DIPG is not good; most patients only survive 9-12 months after diagnosis. However, some patients have lived longer with treatment and careful monitoring by their medical team.
DIPG cancer is an aggressive form of brain cancer that affects children. While there is no cure for this disease, treatments such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy can help prolong life expectancy and reduce symptoms. If your child has been diagnosed with DIPG it’s important to get them into the care of a specialist so they can receive the best possible treatment.