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Ependymoma - Types, Symptoms, Diagnosis And Treatment

Ependymoma – Types, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

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A particular kind of tumor called Ependymoma can develop in the brain or spinal cord. It grows in the ependymal cells that line the brain and spinal cord pathways and where the fluid (cerebrospinal fluid) nourishes your brain.

Although it can happen to anyone, Ependymoma most frequently affects young children. Ependymoma in children can cause headaches and seizures. Adult-onset ependymoma is more likely to develop in the spinal cord and can result in weakness in the area of the body that is controlled by the tumor-damaged nerves.

Ependymomas typically don’t spread to other body areas as other cancers do. However, they may spread to different parts of your spine or brain.

After therapy, malignant tumors in children are prone to return. There is much to process if you or your child is diagnosed with an ependymoma. You’ll have many questions about how to handle your emotions and the disease.

Your doctor might advise surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation treatment depending on where the cancer is located. But be sure to also look after your mental health. To receive the necessary emotional support, turn to your family, friends, and support networks.

What are The Types of Ependymoma?

Medical professionals rated ependymomas on a scale of 1 to 3, with grade 1 tumors developing the slowest and grade 3 tumors growing the fastest. Ependymomas come in four types, including:

1. Sub-ependymoma (grade 1)

This tumor grows slowly near the ventricles of the brain. This type is less common in children and more in adults. Most of the time, they don’t even show any symptoms.

2. Myxopapillary Ependymoma (grade 1)

This tumor grows slowly near the lower spinal cord and is common in male adults.

3. Classic Ependymoma (grade 2)

This tumor grows faster as compared to the above two. It is common in both adults and children.

4. Anaplastic Ependymoma (grade 3)

This is the fastest-growing tumor type of Ependymoma. It usually grows in the brain and rarely in the spinal cord. Moreover, it may also spread in the closer parts of the brain through the cerebrospinal fluid.

This type of tumor is recurring as it may come back even after getting the treatment. What is the life expectancy of anaplastic Ependymoma as it is considered chronic among its types? Researchers and medical experts suggested that post-anaplastic ependymoma life expectancy is five years.

What are the Anaplastic Ependymoma Causes?

Researchers are still finding the answer to this question; what are anaplastic ependymoma causes? Ependymoma has no known etiology, according to experts.

Typically, particular gene changes lead to cancer (mutate) development. What gene mutation causes anaplastic Ependymoma is yet unknown to experts. However, research suggests that ependymomas are more common in patients with neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2).

What are the Anaplastic Ependymoma Symptoms?

The area of tumor growth determines the anaplastic ependymoma symptoms. A tumor, for instance, could prevent the CSF from flowing normally around the base of the brain. ICP, or the pressure within your head, may rise and cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness.

The onset of anaplastic ependymoma symptoms might gradually worsen, or they can come on suddenly. Before further symptoms appear, people with spinal cord tumors may have discomfort where the tumor lies for months or even years.

Due to its recurring nature, the anaplastic ependymoma life expectancy is observed to be less than five years so far. Anaplastic ependymoma symptoms and indicators include:

  • Irregularly large head.
  • Irritability.
  • Sleeplessness.
  • Vomiting.
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Pain that wakes you up
  • Dizziness
  • Balance problems
  • Eye problems
  • Double or blurry vision
  • Weakness
  • Numbness in an arm or leg
  • Trouble with balance or walking
  • Bowel problems
  • Bladder problems
  • Seizures

How to Diagnose Ependymoma?

Ependymoma is a rare adult tumor that can be challenging to identify. It could be difficult to distinguish it from other tumor forms. You can be referred to a neurologist by your primary healthcare practitioner.

This particular healthcare professional focuses on identifying and treating conditions of the central nervous system. Consider visiting a neuro-oncologist.

The brain and spinal cord malignancies are their area of expertise. A neurosurgeon may be recommended to you. This doctor operates on the brain or spinal cord.

You’ll be questioned about your medical history and symptoms. There will be a physical examination, which includes a nervous system examination.

You can be asked to walk, put your finger on your nose, or hold out your hands during a nervous system examination. You can be instructed to use your eyes to follow a light.

The doctor may prescribe the following tests if an ependymoma tumor is suspected:

1. MRI

A computer and large magnets are used in this exam to produce photographs of your body’s interior. A tumor can be found or further analyzed using MRI scans of the brain and spinal cord to determine its location, size, and whether it has spread. A contrast dye may be applied to make the photos more detailed.

2. Spinal Tap (Lumbar Puncture)

It’s possible to remove the tumor so that it may be inspected. The type and grade will next be determined through testing.

3. Surgery

A tiny needle is inserted between the bones in your lower back to extract some CSF from the region surrounding your spine. CSF is drawn into a syringe linked to the needle to check for tumor cells.

What is The Treatment of Ependymoma?

How is Ependymoma treated? The neurologists or neuro-oncologist may suggest the following treatments for Ependymoma:

  • Surgery

The most frequent ependymoma treatment is surgery. Your neurosurgeon removes the tumor as much as possible while leaving the surrounding healthy tissue unharmed. Often, the only course of action for Ependymoma is surgery.

  • Radiation Therapy

Your radiation oncologist shrinks or kills tumor cells using powerful energy beams. Before or after surgery, radiation therapy is commonly used.

  • Chemotherapy

You use medications that kill rapidly dividing cells, such as tumor cells. You could need treatment if the tumor has migrated to other parts of your body, which is uncommon with ependymomas.

  • Immunotherapy

You take medications that boost your immune system to fight cancer more successfully. Although immunotherapy is a rare treatment for ependymomas, it can be necessary if the tumor has progressed to other body organs.

  • Targeted Therapy

This treatment employs medicines or other chemicals targeting cancer cells to kill them or stop them from proliferating. It is hardly ever used to treat ependymomas.

Conclusion

Ependymomas cannot be prevented because no one knows what causes them. If you experience any symptoms that might indicate an ependymoma, consult your doctor as soon as possible.

Early on in a tumor’s development, treatment is simpler. Getting routine screening tests can detect cancer at the earliest stage.

The HG Analytics screening program comprises various diagnostic procedures that allow us to detect potential tumors and cancerous masses before they enter the chronic stage.

This screening program aims to reduce the likelihood of recurring ependymomas. Medical specialists with extensive knowledge and experience handle consultations.

You will receive a thorough report detailing your results and any recommendations for additional testing or treatment that may be required. So, book your consultation now. 

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