Since Nicolas’ diagnosis, I have feverishly sought out information (via the internet) to find out as much as I can about this type of tumor/cancer. This information is not to be used as a substitute for medical attention, but rather as a gathering point of information.

Your child may experience different symptoms depending on the size and location of the tumor. This kind of brain tumor can block the normal flow of cerebrospinal fluid, the colorless fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. This can cause increased pressure of the brain and enlargement of the skull (hydrocephalus).

The following symptoms are possible signs of ependymoma:

  • frequent, severe headaches
  • seizures
  • frequent nausea and vomiting
  • loss of balance or trouble walking, weakness, clumsiness
  • excessively sleepy/lethargic
  • altered mental status, changes in concentration, memory, attention
  • abnormalities in vision
  • gradual changes in intellectual or emotional capacity
  • problems eating, nausea/vomiting especially upon awakening
  • in infants, enlarged head size or fontanelles (the soft spot that occurs before the bones in the head fuse)

Some other interesting facts we have found out from the treating doctors is that this is a rare form of cancer.  In fact only 10 -15 Canadian children each year are diagnosed with Ependymoma.  The neurosurgical and oncology team at Sick Kids are doing research in this field and have come a long was in the last 10 years, however like any other cancer – much more research and funding is required.