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Pediatric Ependymoma

Ependymoma is the fourth most common type of childhood brain tumor, usually diagnosed around age three or four. The tumor can show up in your child’s brain or spine. Children’s Health is home to a pediatric brain tumor team made up of top neurosurgeons, neuro­oncologists and radiation oncologists. Our nationally recognized experts use a team approach to develop a customized treatment plan that gives your child the best opportunity for a good outcome.

What is Pediatric Ependymoma?

Ependymomas form from cells in the brain or spinal cord. About 5% of pediatric brain tumors are ependymomas.

What are the different types of Pediatric Ependymoma?

Subependymoma

A rare, slow-growing type of ependymoma that’s typically found on the ventricles (hollow part or cavity) of the brain and the spinal cord.

Classic Ependymoma

A faster-growing type of ependymoma that’s typically found in the brain.

Anaplastic Ependymoma

This ependymoma occurs when cells in the central nervous system (including spinal cord and brain) start to multiply very quickly. This tumor is characterized by its unique shape.

Myxopapillary Ependymoma

Considered a benign, slow-growing tumor, this ependymoma tends to happen in the lower part of the spinal column.

What are the signs and symptoms of Pediatric Ependymoma?

Common symptoms of this condition include:

  • Headaches
  • Drowsiness and altered mental states
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Balance problems
  • Vision loss
  • Weakness in the arms and legs
  • Loss of developmental milestones

How is Pediatric Ependymoma diagnosed?

Typically, the first step in diagnosis is getting an MRI. This takes pictures of the brain and can reveal a tumor or mass in the brain or spine.

What causes Pediatric Ependymoma?

Like most types of cancer, scientists are still learning what causes ependymoma. Some kids may have a rare genetic condition called neurofibromatosis Type 2, which puts them at a greater risk of developing an ependymoma.

How is Pediatric Ependymoma treated?

After getting results back from the MRI, we will refer your child to a neurosurgeon on our team for surgery to remove the tumor. The goal of surgery is to safely remove as much of the tumor as possible and to confirm the diagnosis. Then, our team of cancer doctors will work together to create a care plan for your child, which often starts with radiation therapy (six weeks), followed by chemotherapy (12 weeks).

Pediatric Ependymoma Doctors and Providers

At Children’s Health℠, a pediatric brain tumor team comprised of hematologists, neurosurgeons, neuro­oncologists and radiation oncologists is ready to help your child. Our doctors are also on the UT Southwestern faculty, placing them among the nation’s top experts in pediatric cancer. They will work together to develop the best possible treatment plan for your child.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the survival rate for ependymoma?

    The survival rate for ependymoma is about 80%.

  • Can ependymoma be cured?

    Not only can ependymoma be cured, we expect that children will have long, fulfilling lives after treatment.

  • Are ependymoma tumors hereditary?

    Ependymoma tumors are hereditary only in very rare cases.

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