About the disease
Ependymoblastoma is a malignant pediatric tumor, which develops in the brain and mostly affects very young children. According to statistics, this tumor is rare overall, but it is second most common cancer in infants after leukemia. Ependymoblastoma is a type of central nervous system tumor.
Overall, this tumor is considered to be very malignant with a 5-year prognosis of 30% for children who underwent surgery. The earlier the treatment is started, the better are the chances of recovery. Treatment of ependymoblastoma depends on the age of a child. If a child is younger than 3 years upon diagnosis of ependymoblastoma he/she can not receive radiotherapy and is advised to have surgery followed by chemotherapy. Radiotherapy is used in children who are over 3 years old. This tumor rarely develops in children over 4 years of age. This tumor is mostly diagnosed before a child is 2 years old.
Although the exact cause ependymoblastoma has not been identified yet, genetic predisposition is believed to play vital role in development of ependymoblastoma in little children. There is no prevalence for males or females.
Overall, it has been noted that children with ependymoblastoma feel better in the morning and then the symptoms, mentioned above, can appear throughout the day. Depending on the exact location of tumor in the brain vision or coordination of a child can be affected. If ependymoblastoma creates intracranial pressure, a child can have headaches.
- Loss of balance
- Problems with speech
- Double vision
- Weakness can manifest itself in one side of the face
- Problems with coordination
- Headaches in some cases
- During a general examination, a doctor will check the coordination of a child and his/her vision. He will also inquire if a child has had headaches and had been crying uncommonly often lately. A doctor will also ask if a child feel better in the morning than the rest of the day.
- An MRI and CT scans of a brain can determine if there is tumor. These imaging tests can also determine the location and size of a tumor. Imaging tests also include the spine of a child to rule out the possibility of ependymoblastoma spreading in that region.
- Tumor resection is a surgery used to resect the tumor and prevent it from spreading further.
- High-dose chemotherapy with bone marrow or stem cell transplant is used to shrink the tumor and kill as many malignant cells as possible. In order to prevent recurrence in future and good survival chances, a child may also undergo bone marrow or stem cell transplant. After the surgery, a medical team collects and freezes healthy stem cells of a child. After child receives chemotherapy, healthy stems are injected back into the child and let them multiply and function normally. A child can be its own donor if the stem cells are healthy or a relative can become a donor.