Ependymomas are slow-growing central nervous system tumors that involve the ventricular system. Ependymoma is a type of tumor that can form in the brain or spinal cord. Ependymoma begins in the ependymal cells in the brain and spinal cord that line the passageways where the fluid (cerebrospinal fluid) that nourishes your brain flows.
Ependymoma can occur at any age, but most often occurs in young children. Children with ependymoma may experience headaches and seizures. Ependymoma that occurs in adults is more likely to form in the spinal cord and may cause weakness in the part of the body controlled by the nerves that are affected by the tumor.
Ependymomas are the 3rd most common central nervous system tumor in children (after astrocytomas and medulloblastomas), representing 10% of pediatric brain tumors. Mean age at diagnosis is 6 years; however, about 30% of ependymomas occur in children < age 3 years.
Ependymomas are derived from the ependymal lining of the ventricular system. Up to 70% of ependymomas occur in the posterior fossa; both high-grade and low-grade tumors in the posterior fossae tend to spread locally to the brain stem.
SYMPTOMS AND SIGNS OF EPENDYMOMAS
Initial symptoms are typically related to increased intracranial pressure. Infants may present with developmental delay and irritability. Changes in mood, personality, or concentration may occur. Seizures, balance and gait disturbances, or symptoms of spinal cord compression (e.g., back pain, loss of bladder and bowel control) may occur.
- Change in the headache pattern
- Headaches gradually becoming severe and frequent
- Vision problems
- Nausea or vomiting which cannot be explained
- Loss of sensation in an arm or leg with or without numbness
- Balancing problems
- Speech difficulties
- Problems in every day matters
- Personality changes
- Hearing problems
- Neurological exam.During a neurological exam, your doctor will ask you about your child's signs and symptoms. He or she may check your child's vision, hearing, balance, coordination, strength and reflexes. Problems in one or more of these areas may provide clues about the part of your child's brain that could be affected by a brain tumor.
- Imaging tests.Imaging tests can help doctors determine the location and size of the brain tumor. MRI is often used to diagnose brain tumors, and it may be used along with specialized MRI imaging, such as magnetic resonance angiography. Because ependymoma can occur in both the brain and spine, imaging tests should be used to create pictures of both areas when a diagnosis of ependymoma is suspected.
- Removing cerebrospinal fluid for testing (lumbar puncture).Also called a spinal tap, this procedure involves inserting a needle between two bones in the lower spine to draw out fluid from around the spinal cord. The fluid is tested to look for tumor cells or other abnormalities.
Ependymoma treatment options include:
SURGERY TO REMOVE THE EPENDYMOMA: Brain surgeons (neurosurgeons) work to remove as much of the ependymoma as possible.
RADIATION THERAPY: Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams, such as X-rays or protons, to kill cancer cells.
RADIOSURGERY: - Radiosurgery is sometimes used when an ependymoma recurs after surgery and radiation.
CHEMOTHERAPY: Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy isn't very effective for most cases of ependymoma.
CALCAREA CARB - The person feels confusion as if the head were too full. He also experiences stitching pain in the skull. Complaints worse from cold and wet weather. There is icy coldness in and on the head, especially right side. Much perspiration on the head, which wets the pillow. Children with big head and large hard abdomen. Calcarea carb is suitable for fat, flabby persons, susceptible to cold. They have a special craving for eggs and indigestible things like dirt, chalk, coal, pencil etc.
CALCREA FLOURICA- Calcrea carb is another effective remedy for Brain tumor when the tumor is hard and stony. It should be tried when Calcarea carb fails. There is a cracking noise in head, disturbing sleep. Other symptoms are- great depression, sparks before the eyes, brain fag and vomiting.
CALCAREA PHOSPHORICA- Calcarea phos is best for Brain tumor with severe headache. There is a sensation as if brain was pressed against the skull. A feeling of ice in occiput. Head hot with pain at the root of hair.
CONIUM MACULATUM- Conium maculatum is another excellent remedy for Brain tumor with nausea and vomiting. The person feels a sensation as if a foreign body was under the skull. A scorched feeling on top of head.Sensation of a lump in right half of brain. One side of head is numb and cold. There is vertigo on turning the eyes, when lying down or turning over in bed. Gait difficult, which is staggering. There is sudden loss of strength while walking.
CUPRUM METALLICUM- Cuprum met is best for brain tumor with seizures and headache. There is a sensation as if water were poured over the head with headache. An empty feeling in head with headache. Headache after epilepsy. There is purple red swelling of head with convulsions. Bruised pain in brain nad eyes on turning them.
HELLEBORUS NIGER - Helleborus is excellent for Brain tumor with confusion. Headache ends in vomiting. The person rolls the head constantly with moaning. He bores his head into pillow for relief. The person feels that electric shock passes through the brain.
KALI IODIDE- Kali iodide is best for Brain tumor with a syphilitic history. There is bilateral violent headache, as if screwed through the sides of the head, worse warmth and pressure. Hard painful lumps on cranium with headache. Pain is tense over eyes and root of nose. Brain feels enlarged. Pain in scalp as if ulcerated. Hair changes colour and falls off.
LYCOPODIUM CLAVATUM- Lycopodium is prescribed for Brain tumor where cerebral edema occurs. Pain in temples as if screwed together. There is pleural effusion also occurs. The person likes warm food and drinks. Lycopodium person have a special craving for sweets. They also suffer from urinary complaints.
RUTA GRAVEOLENS- Ruta is best for Brain tumor with severe headache as if a nail is driven into it. The periosteum becomes sore.
THUJA OCCIDENTALIS- Thuja occ is another effective remedy for Brain tumor with severe headache. The person feels pain as if pierced by a nail., better head backwards. Sweat on forehead and arms. The patient is emotional, sensitive, and irritable. The person desires acid and salty food.
TUBERCULINUM - Start treatment with this remedy. Tuberculinum will arrest the disease and cure the headache.