Brain Tumour

Brain tumours are abnormal cells that accumulate and form a mass or growth in brain tissues. These tumours may develop in children of any age but are mostly found to grow in children under the age of seven. Depending on the cells that form the tumour and the location of tumour within the brain, they have been classified into many different types.

Brain tumours may fall under one of the three tumour categories; 

  • Malignant (cancerous): These tumours grow very rapidly and can also affect surrounding tissues and parts of the brain.

  • Benign (non-cancerous): Their growth is slow and so they do not spread or affect surrounding areas of the brain

  • Primary: Starts in the brain

  • Metastatic: Starts in other parts of the body and spreads to the brain

When a brain tumour grows, it compresses other brain areas and bones and hinders the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), developing an internal pressure within the brain which is termed as intracranial pressure (ICP). Depending on its type, size and location in the brain, the tumour can become severe and cause certain neurological disorders. 

Symptoms of brain tumour vary in infants from those in elder children. Infants may show symptoms like:

  • Sleepiness

  • Irritability

  • Problems in basic development of the infant

  • Difficulty in sitting or crawling

  • Macroencephaly (big heads) when skull bones are not completely fused

Symptoms for elder children include:

  • Headaches

  • Nausea

  • Weakness

  • Seizures

  • Personality changes

  • Troubles in vision​

The symptoms of brain tumours are usually similar to those of other diseases. But, if you notice any of the above mentioned symptoms in your child that are persistent then consult one of our doctors from the Mind and Brain Service Line​ at The Aga Khan University Hospital the only internationally accredited hospital in Pakistan. ​

Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started.

After taking a medical history and physical examination of your child, your child’s doctor will proceed with the evaluation by ordering certain diagnostic tests such as;

  • X-ray: Gives images of skull bones and internal tissues and helps in detecting any incurred damage to the bones by the tumour

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and Computed Tomography (CT) scan: Gives more detailed images than X-ray and helps in identifying the size, type and location of the tumour.

  • Angiogram: To detect specific types of tumours, a dye is inserted during X-ray to clearly view the blood vessels.

  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET): By measuring metabolic activity of cells; this test detects certain tumours that cannot be detected through CT Scan or MRI​

Considering the grade of your child’s tumour (grade varies from I to IV and indicates the aggressiveness of tumour) and its location in the brain, some of the following services will be provided:

  • Surgery:  Surgery is conducted to remove the brain tumour entirely. For high grade tumours; surgery will be followed up by a series of therapies. 

  • Radiation Therapy: High energy beams are passed through the body on the tumour and its surrounding area to make it less aggressive. This therapy is employed in addition to surgery or, in some cases; it eliminates the need of surgery. 

  • Chemotherapy: Certain anti-cancer medications are used to treat brain tumour. Chemotherapy is carried out to achieve various goals like; to reduce the size of tumour before surgery, to eliminate any tumour cells remaining after surgery.​

Please click h​ere for some guidelines on what to do before your surgery.

Please click here for some guidelines on what to do on the day of your surgery.

Some children might not find any difficulty in recovering after surgery while others might. They may face some neurological and physical problems like muscle weakness, but with continuous care, follow-up with doctors and physical activities; they can regain a healthy living within a short time period.

Children undergone chemotherapy might have to face certain side effects and complications, such as hair loss, infections, stress and anaemia. Complications as severe as other organs or nerves getting damaged permanently may also occur. 

Please click here for some guidelines on what to do on after your surgery.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

 The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.

 The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments' costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage




The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.