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What Is an Astrocytoma?

An astrocytoma is a type of glioma or a tumor formed by astrocytes, which are star-shaped supportive (or glial) cells found in the brain and spinal cord. These rare tumors can spread to other parts of the brain. Astrocytomas can be found in children or adults of any age but occur most commonly in older men.

What are the Causes of Astrocytoma?

Causes of astrocytomas are unknown. Researchers have found that the only solid causes are environmental or hereditary. For example, radiation exposure in early years and certain DNA mutations that are also common causes of other cancers can contribute to heightened risk.

What Are the Symptoms of Astrocytoma?

Symptoms of astrocytoma can include:

  • Poor vision
  • Abnormal speech
  • Memory issues
  • Weakness or numbness in the arms and legs
  • Unusual changes in personality
  • Nausea or vomiting and
  • Seizures

Most of these symptoms are due to the tumor putting pressure on the brain.

Diagnosis

Astrocytomas are diagnosed using a variety of tests:

Treatment for Astrocytoma

Grade 1 tumors might be resolved with surgery, but the majority of astrocytomas are incurable. The goal of treatment of astrocytoma is comfort and pain management, keeping the symptoms at bay for as long as possible with:

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