Craniopharyngioma - Childhood: Symptoms and Signs

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 04/2015

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, use the menu on the side of your screen.

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 not related to the tumor.

Symptoms of craniopharyngioma can be caused by pressure building up in the brain, or by the tumor pressing on nerves or blood vessels so that the brain cannot function properly in those areas. Generally, craniopharyngioma is not diagnosed until a child has symptoms.

General symptoms include:

  • Headaches, which may be severe and 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 halted growth

  • Excessive weight gain

  • Early or delayed puberty

If you are concerned about one or more of the symptoms or signs on this list, please talk with your child’s doctor. Your doctor will ask how long and how often your child has been experiencing the symptom(s), in addition to other questions. This is to help find out the cause of the problem, called a diagnosis.

If a tumor is diagnosed, relieving symptoms 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.

The next section in this guide is Diagnosis and it explains what tests may be needed to learn more about the cause of the symptoms. Or, use the menu on the side of your screen to choose another section to continue reading this guide.