Astrocytoma is type of cancerous brain tumor. This type of tumor begins from small, star-shaped cells in the brain called astrocytes. Astrocytes are one of several types of supporting cells in the brain. These types of cells are called glial cells. An astrocytoma is a type of the larger group of brain tumors called gliomas.
Astrocytoma may occur anywhere in the brain, but particularly the cerebrum in adults and the optic nerves in children.
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
The exact cause is unknown. Some possible causes of brain tumors include:
- Certain occupations
- Environmental factors
The exact risk factors for astrocytomas have not been identified. There is an increased chance with:
- Genetic disorders, including neurofibromatosis and tuberous sclerosis
- Occupational exposure from:
- Oil refining
- Rubber manufacturing
The first symptoms of any brain tumor can be caused as the tumor grows. The growth can increase pressure in the brain. Symptoms may include:
- Visual changes
- Personality changes
- Problems with memory, thinking, and concentration
- Problems with walking
Symptoms will vary depending on the location of the tumor. For example:
- Frontal lobe—Gradual changes in mood and personality, loss of muscle function on one side of the body
- Temporal lobe—Problems with coordination, speech, and memory
- Parietal lobe—Problems with sensation, writing, or fine motor skills
- Cerebellum—Problems with coordination and balance
- Occipital lobe—Problems with vision, visual hallucinations
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Your doctor may need to look at pictures of your brain. This can be done with:
- MRI scan
- CT scan
You may also have biopsy/resection to remove a sample of brain tissue to test it for cancer cells.
Treatment is based on the location, size, and grade of the tumor. Treatment may include:
There are no current guidelines to prevent an astrocytoma because the cause is unknown.