About Glioma and Astrocytoma
Gliomas are part of a sub-category called astrocytomas, named from the type of cell (astrocyte) where the tumor originates.
Low-Grade Glioma (Grade II)
Low-grade glioma is the slowest-growing type of glioma in adults. Even though these tumors grow slowly, they can cause serious symptoms that require immediate interventions. The sooner you address the health problem, the easier it often is for your doctors to remove the tumor and decrease the presence of symptoms.
About 40 percent of patients with grade II glioma live for 10 years or more after getting diagnosed. Low-grade gliomas have potential to turn into more serious, higher grade anaplastic astrocytomas over time and, while some are treated immediately, others are simply observed at first to determine the best course of action. Because of this, it is important to meet with your neurosurgeon to discuss treatment as soon as possible.
Anaplastic Astrocytoma (Grade III)
Anaplastic astrocytomas are malignant brain tumors that can spread aggressively. Undergoing surgery may stop the tumor’s growth, but all patients will receive additional treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
About 25 percent of people with anaplastic astrocytomas live for five years or longer after getting diagnosed. Since grade III tumors can turn into grade IV cancer, they must be treated immediately. Your doctor and brain tumor surgeon can provide a treatment plan designed for your specific case.
Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) (Grade IV)
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a grade IV cancer that spreads rapidly. GBM is the most common type of primary brain tumor. If your brain cancer surgeon detects dead cells around the affected area, he or she will likely classify it as a grade IV tumor.
Studies show that about 30 percent of patients diagnosed with GBM live for at least two years. About 10 percent live for at least five years after their diagnosis.
Some patients interpret these survival rates in negative ways. We recommend that you instead focus on the positive aspects to maintain a healthy perspective during your treatment. After all, many people with GBM go on to lead long, fulfilling lives after undergoing surgery.
Symptoms of Glioma and Astrocytoma
If you have a glioma, you have probably experienced symptoms such as headaches, nausea, blurred vision and changes in your mood or personality. The brain tumors can also cause memory loss, numbness and weakness in your limbs, impaired language function (such as slurred speech) and seizures.
The specific symptoms you experience depend on what part of the brain the glioma or astrocytoma tumor affects. An experienced brain tumor surgeon can explain which areas of the brain affect issues like changes in personality and slurred speech.
Treatments for Glioma and Astrocytoma
Brain cancer surgeons have several options when treating glioma and astrocytoma. Depending on the tumor’s location and size, your doctor may perform surgery that extracts the dangerous cells. After the surgery, your doctor may want to use radiation therapy to destroy microscopic cells that could become problematic in the future.
Some patients have inoperable tumors that surgeons cannot remove without causing brain damage. In this instance, your brain cancer surgeon will perform a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis and may want to use a combination of radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
Gliomas that grow in certain parts of the brain can cause physical impairments that make it difficult for patients to walk, speak and perform other activities. If your tumor causes these issues, you may need to participate in physical therapy to regain these and other abilities. The length of your physical therapy depends heavily on the location and size of the tumor.
You can expect your recovery to last at least two months. Each person’s recovery timeline varies, though, so you should talk to your doctor about how long you will need to rest before returning to daily activities.
Why Choose Neurosurgeons of New Jersey?
You want to choose the best possible brain tumor surgeon to treat your glioma or astrocytoma. Neurosurgeons of New Jersey has several doctors who specialize in removing and treating brain tumors.
Unlike some medical practices, Neurosurgeons of New Jersey does not employ general surgeons who perform a wide range of treatments. Instead, our medical group selects specialists who have years of experience working in specific niches. By choosing a specialist, you greatly improve your surgery’s chance of success.
You should also consider facility locations when choosing a brain surgeon. Patients who undergo brain surgery should travel as little as possible, which means a medical group located near your home is the most appropriate choice.
Neurosurgeons of New Jersey performs operations at five facilities throughout New Jersey and New York City. No matter what part of New Jersey you live in, you can find a surgeon who works near you.
Perhaps most importantly, Neurosurgeons of New Jersey always puts patients first. Our patient-focused philosophy considers every aspect of your condition to make your surgery and other treatments meet your unique needs. We want to give you a chance to lead the quality life that you deserve. When you choose one of our surgeons, you get individual attention that puts your needs first.