Posterior fossa tumor is a type of brain tumor located in or near the bottom of the skull.
Infratentorial brain tumors; Brainstem glioma; Cerebellar tumor
The posterior fossa is a small space in the skull, found near the brainstem and cerebellum. The cerebellum is the part of the brain responsible for balance and coordinated movements. The brainstem is responsible for controlling vital body functions, such as breathing.
If a tumor grows in the area of the posterior fossa, it can block the flow of spinal fluid and cause increased pressure on the brain and spinal cord.
Most tumors of the posterior fossa are primary brain cancers. They start in the brain, rather than spreading from somewhere else in the body.
Posterior fossa tumors have no known causes or risk factors.
Symptoms occur very early with posterior fossa tumors and may include:
Symptoms from posterior fossa tumors also occur when the tumor damages local structures, such as the cranial nerves. Symptoms of cranial nerve damage include:
Most tumors of the posterior fossa are removed with surgery, even if they are not cancerous. There is limited space in the posterior fossa, and the tumor can easily press on delicate structures if it grows.
Depending on the type and size of the tumor, radiation treatment may also be used after surgery.
You can ease the stress of illness by joining a support group whose members share common experiences and problems.
A good outlook depends on finding the cancer early. A total blockage in the flow of spinal fluid can be life threatening. If tumors are found early, surgery can lead to long-term survival.
Complications may include:
Call your health care provider if you have regular headaches that occur with nausea, vomiting, or vision changes.
Published Date: January 25, 2022
Published By: Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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