What is astrocytoma?
Astrocytoma is a malignant brain tumor that arises from astrocytes. This type of tumor is "graded I to IV" based on how normal or abnormal the cells look. Low-grade astrocytomas are usually slow-growing and localized, while high-grade astrocytomas grow at a rapid pace and require different treatment. Most astrocytomas found in adults are high-grade, and most found in children are low-grade. They typically appear in the largest part of the brain, the cerebellum, but they can appear in other parts of the brain and nervous system; this includes the cerebrum, brainstem and spinal cord.
What causes an astrocytoma?
Astrocytomas arise from astrocytes, star-shaped glial cells of the central nervous system. Tumors can spread to the brain from other parts of the body.
Astrocytoma symptoms include:
- Speech difficulty
- Memory loss
- Loss of appetite
- Changes in behavior and personality
The astrocytoma treatment options include:
- Surgery—This is generally the primary option used for removing a malignant tumor with a goal of removing as much of the tumor as possible without damaging normal brain tissue.
- Radiation—This is used for killing off tumor cells and limiting the growth of the tumor.
- Chemotherapy—This involves the use of medications that stop the growth of the tumor and can be given orally, through an IV or placed at the site of your tumor through a shunt.