Oncologist-approved cancer information from the American Society of Clinical Oncology
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Craniopharyngioma - Childhood

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 3/2013
Symptoms and Signs

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about body changes and other things that can signal a problem that may need medical care. To see other pages in this guide, use the colored boxes on the right side of your screen, or click “Next” at the bottom.

Children with craniopharyngioma may experience any of the symptoms or signs listed below. Sometimes, children with craniopharyngioma do not show any of these symptoms, or these symptoms may be caused by another medical condition that is not a tumor. If you are concerned about a symptom or sign on this list, please talk with your child’s doctor.

Symptoms caused by craniopharyngioma can be general (caused by pressure building up in the brain), or specific (affecting the normal functioning of the part of the brain where the tumor is by pressing on nerves or blood vessels). Generally, craniopharyngioma is not diagnosed until a child has symptoms.

General symptoms include:

  • Headaches, which may be severe and may be worse in the early morning
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Difficulty with balance
  • Increased sleepiness or fatigue
  • Mood or behavior changes

Location-specific symptoms include:

  • Vision changes, blurriness, or loss of peripheral vision
  • Excessive thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Slow or stopped growth
  • Excessive weight gain
  • Early or delayed puberty

The doctor will ask you and your child questions about the symptoms your child is experiencing to help find out the cause of the problem, called a diagnosis. This may include how long you’ve been experiencing the symptom(s) and how often.

If a tumor is diagnosed, relieving symptoms and side effects remains an important part of your child’s care and treatment. This may also be called symptom management or supportive care. Be sure to talk with the health care team about symptoms your child experiences, including any new symptoms or a change in symptoms.

Choose “Next” (below, right) to continue reading this guide to learn about what tests and scans your child may have to learn more about the cause of the symptoms. Or, use the colored boxes located on the right side of your screen to visit any section.

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