Medulloblastoma - Childhood: Symptoms and Signs

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 08/2022

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about changes and other things that can signal a problem that may need medical care. Use the menu to see other pages.

Children with medulloblastoma may experience the following symptoms or signs. Symptoms are changes that you can feel in your body. Signs are changes in something measured, like by taking your blood pressure or doing a lab test. Together, symptoms and signs can help describe a medical problem. Sometimes, children with medulloblastoma do not have any of the symptoms and signs described below. Or, the cause of a symptom or sign may be a medical condition that is not a brain tumor.

  • Headaches

  • Morning vomiting that worsens over time

  • Clumsiness

  • Problems with handwriting and other motor skills that worsen over time

  • Problems with vision or an eye turning inwards

If medulloblastoma spreads to the spinal cord, it may cause the following symptoms:

  • Back pain

  • Inability to control the bowels and bladder

  • Difficulty walking

If you are concerned about any changes your child experiences, please talk with your child’s doctor. Your child's 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 figure out the cause of the problem, called a diagnosis.

If a brain tumor is diagnosed, relieving symptoms remains an important part of your child’s care and treatment. Managing symptoms may also be called "palliative care" or "supportive care." It is often started soon after diagnosis and continued throughout treatment. Be sure to talk with your child’s health care team about the symptoms your child experiences, including any new symptoms or a change in symptoms.

The next section in this guide is Diagnosis. It explains what tests may be needed to learn more about the cause of the symptoms. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.