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COVID-19 Update

Signs and Symptoms of Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors in Children

Symptoms of brain or spinal cord tumors may resemble symptoms of other conditions or medical problems. However, tumor symptoms persist and worsen over time. Young children may find symptoms difficult to describe.

Clinically, symptoms can be related to an increase in pressure in or around the brain. There is no spare space in the skull for anything except the delicate tissues of the brain and its fluid. Symptoms vary according to where the tumor is located and its size. Symptoms may appear slowly and may be slight at first.

Symptoms of the most common brain tumors in children

Common symptoms of glioma are:

  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Personality changes
  • Weakness in the arms or legs
  • Numbness

Common symptoms of medulloblastoma are:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Unsteadiness walking
  • Uncoordinated movement

Symptoms of spinal cord tumors in children

Common symptoms are:

  • Back pain
  • Weakness or paralysis on both sides of the body
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control

The symptoms of a brain tumor may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.

For more information, contact the Johns Hopkins Pediatric Brain Tumor Center at 410-955-7337.

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