Ependymoma

An ependymoma is a tumor that forms in the lining of the brain or the spinal cord. In children, the tumors tend to form in the brain. In adults, they often occur in the spinal cord. Most ependymomas grow slowly. If they grow quickly, they’re called anaplastic ependymomas.

Overview

Symptoms

Depending on where the tumor is located, ependymoma symptoms may include:

  • A blind spot (papilledema)
  • Blurred vision
  • Changes in personality and thinking
  • Pain in the stomach or along the arms
  • Weakness or paralysis
In children, ependymomas can cause:

  • Brain swelling when fluid from the brain or spine builds up inside the skull (hydrocephalus)
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Seizures

Diagnosis

First, you’ll meet with your doctor for a physical exam and to discuss any symptoms you have. Then, your doctor may order imaging tests, such as an MRI, X-rays or a CT scan. After that, your doctor may perform a biopsy.

Find a Specialist

Our search tool can help you find the right neuroscience specialist.

Treatment Options

Treatment for ependymomas typically includes a combination of surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Options include:

  • Radiotherapy, which uses high-energy radiation to treat the tumor, or specifically CyberKnife® stereotactic radiosurgery, in which a non-invasive, robotic system delivers high radiation therapy to tumors with pinpoint accuracy.
  • Chemotherapy, which uses cancer-fighting drugs to stop the growth of tumors.
  • Steroids to reduce swelling caused by the tumor.

Find a Specialist

Our search tool can help you find the right neuroscience specialist.

Get a Second  Opinion

Knowing all your options can make life's toughest decisions a little easier.

Your Life Your Health

myAurora makes it easy to manage your care online, anytime.