Craniopharyngioma is a benign tumor that develops near the pituitary gland. It is a small endocrine gland that is at the base of the brain. Symptoms of craniopharyngioma can happen in three different ways: by damaging the optic nerve, by disrupting the function of the pituitary gland, and by increasing the pressure on the brain. When people start to have increased pressure on their brain they start to have symptoms: headache, nausea, vomiting, and problems with their balance. When the pituitary gland is damaged it can cause hormonal imbalances that eventually will lead to thirst and frequent urination. Also if a person damages their optic nerve it will cause vision problems. Most of the patients will have some visual damages and a decrease in the hormone production at the time of the diagnosis. The causes for craniopharyngioma can affect children from the ages of 5 to 10 years old. Sometimes adults can be affected also with this tumor. Male and females are equal in the being afftected with this condition. For most people with craniopharngioma, surgery has always been the main treatment. Instead of the surgery though, radiation treatment might be a better option for patients. The reason for this is because if the tumor cannot be completely removed during surgery, then radiation therapy would be the next choice. Sometimes surgery is not even necessary, radiation therapy being planned alone would be fine. This tumor would best be treated at a center with the experience in craniopharyngiomas. The following tests can be done to find craniopharyngiomas: CT scan and/or MRI scan of the brain, a neurological examination, and endocrine hormone evaluations that can be ran for any imbalances. For patients that do not get the tumor completely removed, the tumor can come back. Patients should contact a doctor if they are having symptoms of headache, nausea, vomiting, any problems with imbalances, visual problems, increased thirst and urination, and poor growth in a child.
A.D.A.M., inc. (2010, March 11). Craniopharyngioma. Retrieved from http://health.google.com/health/ref/Craniopharyngioma.
Eve, Tsai C. (2010). Tumors of the skull base in children: tumors of the middle cranial base in children. Retrieved from http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/436107_3.