Symptoms and Signs of Childhood Ependymoma (Brain Cancer)

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 10/8/2021

Doctor's Notes on Childhood Ependymoma (Brain Cancer)

Childhood ependymoma is a type of cancer that occurs when cells in the tissues of the brain and spinal cord start to grow abnormally. There are different types of ependymomas which can form anywhere in the fluid-filled ventricles and passageways in the brain and spinal cord. Once an ependymoma forms, areas of the brain that may be affected include the cerebellum, brain stem, cerebrum, and spinal cord. 

Symptoms of childhood ependymoma depend on the child's age and where the tumor has formed. Symptoms may include:

  • frequent headaches,
  • seizures,
  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • neck pain or stiffness,
  • loss of balance or trouble walking,
  • weakness in the legs,
  • blurred vision, 
  • back pain,
  • changes in bowel function,
  • difficulty urinating,
  • confusion, or
  • irritability.

What Is the Treatment for Childhood Ependymoma?

The standard treatment for ependymoma is surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible while preserving the normal surrounding brain tissue. After surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy may be given. Newer types of treatments including targeted therapies are being tested in clinical trials, which are another option for treatment of children with ependymoma.


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.