DIPG – Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma is a fast-growing glial tumour that forms cells called glial cells in a part of the brain stem called pons (the part of the brain just above the back of the neck and connected to the spine), which controls many of the body’s most vital functions such as breathing, blood pressure, and heart rate and the nerves and muscles that help us see, talk, hear, walk, and eat. DIPG is a “high grade” malignant brain tumour. It is hard to treat and has a poor prognosis. It occurs in childhood in both boys and girls equally and is usually diagnosed between the ages of five and ten and does not generally appear in adults. But it can show up at any age in childhood.
Symptoms of Childhood DIPG:
The DIPG tumour grows at a rapid rate. Because the tumour affects the cranial nerves, some of the earliest signs of DIPG can be seen in the face like rapidly developing problems controlling eye movements, facial expressions, speech,
chewing, and swallowing. The most common symptoms include:
● Facial weakness or drooping (usually one side): One side of the face may droop. Complications with the eyes (including, drooping eyelids, uncontrolled eye movements, double vision, blurred vision). Initial symptoms of DIPG
include changes in the child’s facial muscles involving the eyes and eyelids. The eyelids may droop and the child may not be able to close both eyelids completely. Double vision can also be a problem. Generally, symptoms affect both eyes, not just one.
● Problems with chewing and swallowing: One side of the face may droop. The child may suddenly develop problems hearing, chewing, and swallowing.
● Weakness in arms and legs: Symptoms can extend to the limbs, causing weakness in the arms and legs and making standing and walking more difficult. This will affect the daily movement of the child.
● Nausea, Headache, Vomiting: If the tumour causes a disruption in the flow of spinal fluid around the brain, it increases pressure inside the skull (hydrocephalus), symptoms can include a painful headache, as well as nausea and vomiting. Headache gets better after the child vomits.
According to research, approximately 300 children in the U.S are diagnosed with DIPG each year. Most of the tumours are diagnosed by their appearance on MRI. About 10% to 20% of all childhood brain tumours are DIPG or brainstem gliomas.
According to the Glioma staging system, the stages of DIPG can be classified into four stages Low Grade- Grade I or II which means that the tumour cellsare the closest to normal. The most aggressive tumours are the High GradeGrade III or IV.
Radiation, Chemotherapy, and Surgery are the ways in which DIPG can be treated. But unfortunately, the survival rate for DIPG remains very low. At this point of time, there is no cure for this tumour. Stay alert as early diagnosis can lead to early treatment. Marc Jr Foundation works and supports fund research toward finding a cure for DIPG. Marc Jr Foundation is engaged in every type of awareness mission for DIPG.
For any help related to DIPG, please feel free to contact us at Marc Jr Foundation. We will always support you.