Recent advances in diagnostic imaging, neurosurgical techniques and oncologic therapies provide a more optimistic outlook for practitioners, children with brain tumors and their families. Newer imaging modalities such as magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography improve accuracy of both initial diagnosis and follow-up evaluation for recurrence or metastasis. Recent advances in microsurgical technique allow for more complete tumor resection. Improving immunological and chemotherapeutic agents show future promise for tumor-specific treatment. Craniospinal irradiation techniques are changing in response to research into long-term effects of radiation on the developing nervous system and patterns of tumor recurrence and metastasis. Stereotactic radiation allows high-dose radiation to be given to focal areas minimizing radiation effects to surrounding normal structures. These changes impact the nursing care of children, requiring neuroscience nurses to be aware of current treatment modalities. Greater awareness of these changes ensures optimum patient care.
Questions or comments about this article may be addressed to Mary C. Baron, RN, C, MS at: Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, 4650 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90054. She is a pediatric clinical nurse specialist in the division of neurology.
© 1991 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses