Astrocytoma is a cancer type that can develop in the brain or spinal cord. Astrocytoma forms in the cells called astrocytes. The function of astrocytes is to support nerve cells.
Astrocytoma symptoms depend on the location of your tumor. For example, astrocytomas that appear in the brain can cause seizures, nausea and headaches. Astrocytomas that appear in the spinal cord can cause weakness and disability in the area hit by the developing tumor.
An astrocytoma can be a slow-growing tumor, or it can be aggressive cancer that proliferates. The aggressiveness of your astrocytoma determines your diagnosis and treatment options.
What causes astrocytoma
The cause of most astrocytomas is not yet recognized. However, researchers think that genetic abnormalities, immunologic abnormalities, environmental factors, diet, stress, and other factors may contribute to causing specific types of cancer. Therefore, researchers are conducting continuous research to discover more about the factors that may result in this cancer.
Symptoms depend on the size and location of the astrocytoma, which includes:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Memory loss
- Changes in mental status
- Visual problems
- Other cognitive and motor impairments
Diagnosis and Treatments
Tests used to diagnose astrocytoma include:
- Neurological examination
- Imaging tests
We will work alongside you to decide the best treatment for your needs. Our team may recommend a combination of treatments, including surgery and radiation. Generally, the treatment includes:
- Surgery to remove the astrocytoma
- Radiation therapy
- Palliative care