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Ependymomas

An ependymoma is a tumor in the brain or spinal cord. Every year, approximately 10-15 children in the Netherlands are diagnosed with an ependymoma. Ependymomas occur at any age, but usually under the age of four or during puberty. An ependymoma can sometimes spread to other parts of the central nervous system.

The brochure entitled Ependymoma contains comprehensive information about this disease. The most important information is posted on our website.

Causes

Ependymomas are caused by a developmental error in a (progenitor) cell of the supporting cells. Probably something is damaged in the chromosomes or in the DNA of this cell. It is unclear as to what exactly causes ependymomas. Sometimes the tumor is already present in rudimentary form in the womb.

Symptoms

Most children have been unwell for some time, are nauseous, vomit or have headaches. Other symptoms include crossed eyes, difficulty swallowing or speaking, difficulty writing, dizziness and impaired motor skills.


How is ependymona diagnosed?

An MRI scan is performed and cerebrospinal fluid is drawn under sedation.

Treatment 

Children with an ependymona are treated according to a protocol drawn up by national and international experts. Your child first undergoes surgery. Subsequent treatment depends on the grade and location of the tumor, your child's age and whether the tumor could be completely removed. Sometimes no treatment is required after surgery, but other times treatment calls for chemotherapy, radiotherapy or a combination of the two.

Chance of recovery

If the tumor can be removed completely and there are no metastases, there is a reasonable to good chance of recovery. However, ependymomas do tend to recur. The chance of recovery is smaller if the tumor cannot be removed completely and/or if there are any metastases. Don't be influenced too much by statistics. Every child and every situation is unique.

Questions?

Children and adolescents with an ependymoma are treated in the neuro-oncology department.