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Prinses Máxima Centrum

Children with brain tumors monitored with neuropsychological program

Children who are being treated for a brain tumor are at high risk of neurological problems with, for example, memory, emotions and behavior. For the first time, research is now being conducted before these problems arise. The so-called Brain CARE program follows the development of children with a brain tumor over the years through in-depth neuropsychological research. The results of this study have a direct influence on the care for the child and thus their quality of life. Care and research have been combined in the program, which minimizes the burden on the child and the parents.

Of all children with cancer, children with a brain tumor have the highest risk of developing neuropsychological problems and reduced quality of life. Early identification and customized care is therefore of great importance. The development of these children is consistently monitored in the Brain CARE program and this has never been done anywhere in the world: preventively instead of anticipating afterwards. The aim is to provide maximum customized care, to anticipate problems in the future and ultimately the possibility to answer research questions by bundling data.

Before brain surgery
Children with a newly diagnosed brain tumor are seen before surgery for a bedside screening, during which neuropsychological functioning is briefly evaluated. This is repeated after surgery. The child is then seen at standard times for a neuropsychological examination: after three months, after one year, after two years and after five years. The extent of the examination is determined on the basis of an estimate of the functioning and whether there are any care questions. By following children over time with a neuropsychological examination, timely (psychosocial) help and guidance can be offered if necessary. For example with advice for home, by thinking along about school or giving psychological treatment.

The Brain CARE program is led by Prof. Martha Grootenhuis (research group psycho-oncology) and Dr. Marita Partanen (research group neuropsychology) together with the department of clinical neuropsychology and Dr. Femke Aarsen, team leader.

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