What is the definition of Ependymoma?
An ependymoma is a type of tumor which mainly occurs in young children that affects the brain or spinal cord. Ependymomas arise from the ependymal cells lining the passageways where cerebrospinal fluid flows. Ependymomas are categorized by grades based on their characteristics: Grade I ependymomas are considered to be slow growing, low-grade tumors; Grade II ependymomas may occur in the brain or spine and are also considered to be low-grade tumors; Grade III ependymomas are malignant (cancer), fast-growing tumors that most often occur in the brain and sometimes the spine. Rarely, an ependymoma can occur in the ovaries.
What are the symptoms for Ependymoma?
The symptoms of an ependymoma depend on the area of the brain or spinal cord affected, and in the brain may include headaches, nausea and vomiting, or dizziness. In the spinal cord, an ependymoma may cause numbness and weakness in the arms, legs, or trunk and sexual, urinary, or bowel problems.
Symptoms of an ependymoma in children may include headache and seizures. In adults, ependymoma more frequently occurs in the spinal cord, causing weakness in areas of the body controlled by spinal nerves affected by the tumor.
What are the current treatments for Ependymoma?
Treatment for an ependymoma is individualized, with the main treatment being surgical removal of the tumor. For tumors that cannot be treated with surgery or fully removed, radiosurgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy may be used.