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Symptoms and Signs of Ependymoma

The symptoms and signs of ependymoma depend on the grade of the tumor and where it is located. Any tumor that blocks the flow of cerebral spinal fluid can cause symptoms. Symptoms may be sudden or may be noticed slowly and get worse over time.

An ependymoma found in the brain may lead to increased intracranial pressure, which can cause the following symptoms:

  • Dizziness and balance problems
  • Eye problems, such as double or blurry vision, or uncontrolled eye movements
  • Headache or feeling of pressure in the head
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Seizures

Ependymoma tumors in the spinal cord may expand gradually over a prolonged period. This slow progression may eventually compress the spine and lead to symptoms, which vary depending on the size and exact location of the spinal tumor. Pain may be the first symptom and can be followed, even years later, by other noticeable changes. Symptoms include:

  • Bowel or bladder problems
  • Difficulty walking
  • Neck stiffness
  • Numbness
  • Pain
  • Paralysis
  • Pins-and-needles feeling
  • Weakness in the arms, legs, or trunk

An ependymoma can lead to a syringomyelia, which is a fluid-filled cyst in the spinal cord.