In the United States, brain tumors are relatively rare, accounting for about 2 percent of all cancers. But of those brain tumors, gliomas are the most common, representing about 80 percent of all brain tumors.
Gliomas arise from glial cells, which make up the supportive tissue of the brain. There are four main types of gliomas, each named for the specific type of glial cell from which it originates: astrocytomas, oligodendrogliomas, ependymomas and mixed gliomas. Astrocytomas are the most common type of glial tumor, accounting for about 50 percent of all brain tumors.
Most gliomas are classified as primary brain tumors, meaning they originate in the brain. However, some gliomas can spread from other parts of the body to the brain, a process called metastasis.
Gliomas can occur at any age, but they are most commonly diagnosed in people between the ages of 45 and 70. However, children and adolescents can also develop gliomas.
Gliomas can be either low-grade (slow-growing) or high-grade (fast-growing). Low-grade gliomas tend to grow more slowly and often do not cause symptoms until they are large enough to interfere with brain function. High-grade gliomas grow more quickly and often cause symptoms early on.
The most common symptom of a brain tumor is a headache. However, because brain tumors can often grow for a long time before they cause symptoms, many people do not realize they have a brain tumor until it is found during a routine medical exam or imaging test done for another reason.
Other common symptoms of brain tumors include:
Nausea and vomiting
Changes in mood, personality or behavior
Changes in vision, hearing or speech
Difficulty with balance and walking
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor so that the cause can be determined. These symptoms can also be caused by other, less serious conditions.
If a brain tumor is suspected, a number of tests will be done to confirm the diagnosis. These may include a computed tomography (CT) scan, a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan or a biopsy.
Once a brain tumor has been diagnosed, the next step is to determine the grade of the tumor. This is important because it affects the treatment plan.
Grade I and II tumors are low-grade and tend to grow slowly. These tumors can often be treated with surgery.
Grade III and IV tumors are high-grade and grow more quickly. These tumors are often more difficult to treat and may require a combination of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.
The outlook for people with a brain tumor depends on a number of factors, including the type, grade and location of the tumor, as well as the person’s age and overall health.
brain tumors are typically very serious and can be life-threatening. However, with early diagnosis and treatment, many people with a brain tumor can lead long, productive lives.
Gliomas are tumors that grow in the brain or spine. They are the most common type of brain tumor. Gliomas can be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
There are four main types of gliomas:
-Astrocytoma: This is the most common type of glioma. It forms in the brain and spinal cord.
-Oligodendroglioma: This type of glioma forms in the cells that make up the fatty covering of nerve cells.
-Ependymoma: This type of glioma forms in the cells lining the fluid-filled cavities in the brain and spinal cord.
-Mixed glioma: This type of glioma contains more than one type of cell.
Gliomas can be low grade (slow-growing) or high grade (fast-growing). Low-grade gliomas tend to be less aggressive and have a better prognosis. High-grade gliomas are more likely to spread and are more difficult to treat.
Gliomas usually grow slowly and may not cause any symptoms for months or even years. When symptoms do occur, they may include:
-Nausea and vomiting
-Changes in mood, behavior, or personality
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible. An early diagnosis can improve the chances of successful treatment.
Treatment for gliomas depends on the type and grade of the tumor, as well as the location. Treatment options may include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
Although gliomas can be difficult to treat, new therapies are constantly being developed. With early diagnosis and treatment, many people with gliomas can lead long and fulfilling lives.