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Ependymoma

How Is It Diagnosed?

If a child has possible ependymoma symptoms, the doctor may perform a physical exam, ask about the child's personal and family medical history, and recommend additional tests and procedures in order to make a diagnosis.
 
Exams and tests that are used when diagnosing ependymoma may include:
 
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
  • Biopsy.
     
If ependymoma is suspected, the doctor will need to perform a biopsy. During this procedure, the doctor removes part of the skull and uses a needle to take out a sample of the brain tissue. A pathologist (someone who studies diseases) will then view the tissue under a microscope to look for cancer cells. If cancer cells are found, the doctor will remove as much tumor as is safely possible during the same surgery.
 
(Click Brain Tumor Diagnosis for more information about identifying brain tumors in children.)
 

Treatment for Ependymoma

Ependymoma treatment options vary based on:
 
  • The amount of tumor that is removed
  • Whether the cancer cells have spread to other parts of the central nervous system
  • The child's age and general health.
     
In general, treatment includes:
 
  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy.
     
Your doctor can describe your child's treatment choices and the expected results of each. Parents of children with ependymoma should work with their doctor to develop a treatment plan that meets the child's medical needs and the family's personal values. This is a decision that ideally involves the child, the family, and the healthcare team.
 
(Click Ependymoma Treatment for more information.)
 
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