What is pediatric ependymoma?

Pediatric ependymoma is a rare type of tumor that forms in a child’s brain or spinal cord. It starts in cells that line the ventricles (fluid-filled spaces in the brain) and the canal that holds the spinal cord. Nearly half of all ependymomas are diagnosed in children under age 3.

Signs and symptoms

Is it pediatric ependymoma?

Symptoms can include:

  • Headaches

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Seizures

  • Trouble with balance

  • Mood changes

  • Pain or stiffness in the neck

  • Unsteady walking

  • Balance problems

  • Weak legs

  • Blurred vision

  • Trouble peeing or pooping

  • Confusion

Diagnosis of ependymoma

Your child’s doctor will do a full physical exam and take a detailed medical history.

Additional tests might include:

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UW Health Kids
Our pediatric experts have served the special needs of children for more than 100 years. We focus on each child’s unique needs and offer social and emotional support to help you and your child face even the most complex condition. Our long history includes the creation of medical advances that save lives around the world. Together, we get your child back to health and enjoying being a kid.

Treating ependymoma

How we can help

Treatments for ependymoma include:

Understanding pediatric cancer

Our UW Carbone Cancer Center specialists offer the most advanced treatment options. Our pediatric cancer and blood disorder experts are national research leaders. We test new therapies and continue to work on therapies for pediatric cancer and blood disorders. For many children with rare or hard-to-treat conditions, clinical trials provide new options.

Search our clinical trials


A first-class facility

At American Family Children’s Hospital, you will find a friendly, child-centered environment. Our hospital is designed with relaxing spaces and areas where children are encouraged to play.

Meet our team

Experts caring for your child

Your child’s team will include:

  • Oncologists (cancer doctors)

  • Hematologists (blood disease doctors)

  • Nurse practitioners

  • Child life specialists

  • Pain management specialists

  • Physical, occupational and speech therapists

  • Radiologists and radiation technologists

  • Social workers

Patient and support services

You’re never alone

When your child needs hospitalization, they will be admitted to American Family Children's Hospital in Madison, Wis.

Child life specialists help your child and family cope with any fears and anxieties. The American Family Children's Hospital patient and family visitor guide features information about:

  • Hero beads

  • Hospital school

  • Positive Image Center

  • Restoring Hope Transplant House (for blood and bone marrow transplant)

  • Spiritual care services

  • Tyler's Place (sibling child care)

Additional resources

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Pediatric cancer services

With our expertise comes compassion. Our team considers you and your child part of our family. We will be by your side every step of the way. From diagnosis through treatment and into adulthood, we will care for your child as if they are our own.

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