Astrocytoma

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.

  • Causes


    The exact cause is unknown. Some possible causes of brain tumors include:

    • Heredity
    • Certain occupations
    • Environmental factors
    • Viruses

  • Definition

    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.

    Brain Tumor
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  • Diagnosis


    The doctor will ask 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 through:

    • Magnetic resonance imaging
      (MRI) scan
    • Computed tomography
      (CT) scan
    • Angiogram

    You may also have biopsy/resection to remove a sample of brain tissue to test it for cancer cells.

  • Prevention

    There are no prevention guidelines since the exact cause of astrocytoma is not known.

  • Risk Factors


    The exact risk factors for astrocytomas have not been identified. Some studies suggest the following risk factors increase your chance of this tumor:


    • Genetic disorders, including
      neurofibromatosis
      and tuberous sclerosis

    • Occupational exposure to:

      • Radiation
      • Chemicals
      • Oil refining
      • Rubber manufacturing

  • Symptoms


    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:

    • Headaches
    • Visual changes
    • Vomiting
    • Seizures
    • 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

  • Treatment

    Treatment is based on the location, size, and grade of the tumor. Treatment may include: