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Childhood ependymoma is a type of brain tumor. A tumor begins when normal cells change and grow uncontrollably, forming a mass. A tumor can be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous, meaning it can spread to other parts of the body). Ependymoma is a rare, cancerous brain tumor.
A brain tumor is named after the cells from which it develops. Ependymoma starts in the ependymal cells that line the ventricles (fluid-filled spaces) in the brain and the central canal of the spinal cord. The brain and spinal column make up the central nervous system (CNS), where all vital functions are controlled, including thought, speech, and body strength.
Ependymoma belongs to a group of brain tumors called gliomas. A glioma is a tumor that grows from a glial cell, which is a supportive cell in the brain. Even though ependymoma can occur in any part of the brain or spine, it most commonly occurs in the cerebrum, which is the largest part of the brain. The cerebrum is the top part of the brain and controls motor skills (muscle coordination) and talking.
This section covers ependymoma diagnosed in children. Learn more about brain tumors in adults.
Find out more about basic cancer terms used in this section.
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