Doctors examine X-ray of brainAstrocytoma is a type of primary brain tumor classified as a glioma. This fast-growing, malignant tumor arises from the glue-like, star-shaped glial cells called astrocytes, which support and protect the neurons. At IGEA Brain, Spine & Orthopedics, our experts in brain treatments and neurosurgery can offer the most cutting-edge treatments to help you or a loved one recover. Our offices are conveniently located throughout New Jersey and New York, making it easy for patients in the tri-state area to receive the care they need.

 

Where Astrocytoma Develops

Though researchers do not know what causes astrocytoma, they know where the tumors can be most prevalent. They’re most often seen in the brain and frequently in adults – especially middle-aged men. In rare cases, they can be found on the spinal cord. They may also develop at the base of the brain, which is more common in younger individuals and accounts for the majority of tumors found in children.

Grading and Categorization

The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed a system for grading and categorizing all cancers, including astrocytoma. This system allows physicians to more accurately evaluate the tumor and plan appropriate treatment. Grading runs as follows:

  • Grade I (pilocytic): The tumor is extremely slow-growing and has well-defined borders. It is limited to the brain.
  • Grade II (low-grade): The tumor is also slow-growing, though its borders are not well-defined. It rarely spreads beyond the brain.
  • Grade III (anaplastic): The tumor is fast-growing and aggressive. The tumor’s cells are visibly different and may spread elsewhere in the nervous system.
  • Grade IV (glioblastoma): Astrocytoma may evolve into glioblastoma, which is an incredibly aggressive brain tumor that might metastasize into other organs as well.

Symptoms and Signs

Very small Grade I astrocytoma may not cause any symptoms. As it grows, however, patients may experience warning signs based on the tumor’s location. In adults, these include:

  • Chronic headaches
  • Vision anomalies, like blurred or double vision
  • Nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite
  • Changes in personality and mood
  • Difficulty thinking and learning
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Memory loss
  • Seizures

Astrocytoma also often appears in children. Pediatric brain tumors can be harder to identify, as their symptoms may differ from those experienced by adults. They frequently include:

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite
  • Difficulties with balance or coordination

Our Treatment Options

The experienced neurosurgeons at IGEA Brain, Spine & Orthopedics use an array of techniques to treat astrocytoma. Depending on the patient’s age, condition, and the size of their tumor, we can offer any of the following:

Surgery

Surgical treatments aim to remove as much of the tumor as possible without harming brain tissue or functions. It’s an often effective treatment option for those with low-grade tumors.

CyberKnife Radiosurgery

CyberKnife is an innovative technique that utilizes robotic technology to aim a narrow beam of radiation. It enables surgeons to selectively destroy tumor cells while minimizing damage to healthy tissue. It can also treat tumors beyond the reach of traditional surgery. Radiosurgery is typically administered in small doses over multiple sessions to ensure a positive outcome.

Chemotherapy

This treatment uses specialized drugs to target and kill cancer cells. We often use it alongside other treatments or in young children as a substitute for radiation. It has been proven to increase survival rates for 20% of patients.

Contact IGEA Brain, Spine & Orthopedics

Astrocytoma and other malignant tumors require immediate, expert attention. If you are showing symptoms of a tumor or have already been diagnosed, contact one of our neurosurgeons in New Jersey or New York. We’re experts in brain, spine, neurological, and orthopedic procedures, with years of experience addressing a broad range of conditions. Choose IGEA Brain, Spine, & Orthopedics to receive high-quality treatment you can rely on.

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