What is DIPG?

D.I.P.G. is "Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma"     

Some Facts:

* DIPG is Cancer that forms around the brain stem at the base of the skull in the area of the Pons.

* As the Brain Stem controls sight, breathing, heart beat muscular control and many other body functions, DIPG can affect any and all of these functions.

* DIPG is the worst brain cancer as it is inoperable and even attempting to perform a biopsy places the patient at risk.

* Chemotherapy has not shown to be effective on any cases to date.  Current treatments usually involve radiation and steroids - all attempting to slow the growth of the tumor, they are not effective towards tumor elimination.

* DIPG spares patients decline in cognitive abilities - in other words, the child remains fully aware of their decline while robbing them of their motor functions resulting partial paralysis, loss of voice, sight and finally their ability to eat and breathe.  Its a fully functioning brain in a body that is shutting down.

* DIPG accounts for about 10 of every 100 brain tumors in children but is the cause of 80% of all deaths from brain tumors.  DIPG (to date) is always fatal.

* DIPG is the leading cause of death from pediatric cancer overall.  It is a bleak prognosis.  Median age of diagnosis=6-7 years old (records show diagnosis from as young as 2 and as old 18 although one case was diagnosed at 32).  Median survival is 9 months.  90% of children diagnosed with DIPG die within 2 years of initial diagnosis with less than 1% surviving more than 5 years.

* Scientists and Doctors do not know yet what causes DIPG and the cancer is so rare that research funding is severely limited.  Only 4% of all cancer funding goes towards DIPG cause, cure or treatment research.  Over 350 new cases are identified each year.  

* DIPG is found world-wide and (to date) no links have been identified to heredity, environment, or substances.

Medical illustration adapted from and with gratitude to:  © 2010 Terese Winslow LLC, U.S. Govt. has certain rights     www.teresewinslow.com