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Childhood Brain Tumor Treatment

Our Treatment Approach

MD Anderson’s pediatric brain tumor team has expertise in treating complex brain tumors. The team consists of neurosurgeons, neurologists, radiation oncologists and other doctors who specialize in the type of treatment a child requires. Treating childhood brain tumors requires a multidisciplinary approach, combining surgery with other cancer treatments to achieve the best possible outcomes. 

If your child has been diagnosed with a brain tumor, we’re here to help. Call 1-877-632-6789 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.

Childhood Brain Cancer Treatments


Treatment of childhood brain tumors starts with surgery to remove the tumor. Before surgery, children are often given steroids to reduce swelling in the brain and anticonvulsant medications to prevent seizures. Neurosurgeons (a specialist in childhood brain surgery) will remove as much of the tumor as possible and remove a tissue sample for analysis. They will also create a pathway for chemotherapy drugs and radiation therapy after surgery.


Chemotherapy is the standard treatment for brain tumors in children under the age of three. Chemotherapy may be cancer-killing drugs taken daily, an injection into a blood vessel or muscle once a week or infusion through IV for several days at a time each month. For young children, chemotherapy is often used to eliminate or delay the need for radiation therapy.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation is used after surgery if necessary. Radiation directs high-dose X-rays to kill the tumor cells and shrink the tumor. It is usually given daily for 6 to 8 weeks. Radiation is not used in children under the age of three because of possible long term effects to developing brains.

Our Childhood Brain Tumor Clinical Trials

The most innovative treatments for childhood are offered as part of clinical trials, which are closely monitored studies to test the safety and effectiveness of new treatments. Go to MD Anderson's list of current pediatric clinical trials to see if your child might be eligible.

You can also visit our Clinical Trials database or speak to your doctor.

Why Choose MD Anderson?

  • The Children’s Cancer Hospital is within one of the top-ranked cancer centers in America
  • Access to novel therapies and state-of-the-art technologies before most children’s hospitals
  • We see more types of cancer than any other children’s hospital in Texas
  • Family-centered care that actively involves parents in their child’s treatment
  • A strong cancer research program focused on developing new therapies for pediatric patients
  • Comprehensive support services such as an accredited school program, creative arts, child life and career counseling
  • An Adolescent and Young Adult Program that specializes in the unique medical and psychological needs of patients aged 15-25

Childhood Brain Tumor Knowledge Center

Treatment at MD Anderson

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