Childhood ependymoma is diagnosed based on signs and symptoms. These tumors are seen to be intracranial in children and spinal in adults. The signs and symptoms of ependymoma experienced in childhood, teens and adults depend on the location of the tumor, the patient’s age and tumor size. Different people may experience different sets of signs and symptoms. Some of the common symptoms of childhood ependymoma include incessant headaches, vomiting and nausea, seizures or convulsions, mild to extreme pain in the back and neck, blurred vision, weakness in the legs, losing body balance, jerky eye movements, variation in the bowel function, difficulty urinating, feeling confused or irritated, reaching childhood developmental milestones at a plodding pace. When these symptoms are observed in the children, their parents should directly contact the doctor, where the doctor will further inquire about how long and often the child has been experiencing these signs or symptoms.
Signs and Symptoms of Childhood Ependymoma
Childhood ependymoma occurs when cells in the brain or spinal cord turn cancerous. Ependymomas are glial tumors that arise from ependymal cells found within the Central Nervous System (CNS). These tumors are seen to be intracranial in children and spinal in adults. There are different types of ependymomas. The symptoms can only be identified by the person experiencing ependymoma.
At the same time, a sign refers to something that other people can identify and measure. The signs and symptoms of ependymoma experienced in childhood, teens and adults depend on the location of the tumor, patient’s age and tumor size 1. Different people may experience a different sets of signs and symptoms. Sometimes people with ependymoma -childhood tumors will experience some or all of the below-mentioned symptoms. But there can also be cases where people may not experience any noticeable symptoms or signs. And at times, these symptoms may indicate some other disease condition and not that of any tumor growth.
The following are the signs and symptoms of childhood ependymoma:
- Incessant headaches
- Vomiting and nausea
- Seizures or convulsions (sudden involuntary movement of muscles)
- Mild to extreme pain in back and neck
- Blurred vision
- Weakness in legs and finding it difficult to walk
- Losing body balance
- Jerky eye movements
- Variation in the bowel function
- Difficulty urinating
- Feeling confused or irritated.
- Reaching childhood developmental milestones at a plodding pace than expected or losing previously achieved milestones.
If your child is experiencing any of these signs or symptoms of any other unusual change, be sure to consult a doctor and communicate about the signs, symptoms and doubts. Your child’s doctor will inquire about how long and often your child has been experiencing these signs or symptoms. The doctor may also ask other vital questions to clarify your disease condition. To detect CNS tumors like childhood ependymoma, a proper diagnosis is required, and it plays a crucial role in treating and curing the disease condition.
If a childhood ependymoma brain tumor is diagnosed upon diagnosis, managing and relieving symptoms and side effects remain an important, inevitable part of active treatment. This can be called palliative or supportive care. This is started soon after the disease is diagnosed and is continued throughout the disease treatment. Parents or guardians of children with ependymoma are encouraged to openly talk to their doctor or healthcare team regarding any sign or symptom or change their child is experiencing, including any new signs or symptoms. This will help doctors or healthcare teams design the treatment plan as per the patient’s disease requirements.
- 1.Allen JC, Siffert J, Hukin J. Clinical Manifestations of Childhood Ependymoma:A Multitude of Syndromes. Pediatr Neurosurg. Published online 1998:49-55. doi:10.1159/000028619