HealthDiseases and Conditions

What is astrocytoma of the brain? Astrocytoma of the brain: prognosis

Glioma of the brain - what is it? This term is used to refer to any tumor of this organ. Glioma of the brain, regardless of its variety, is a danger to human life. Next, we learn about one of the forms of tumors of this part of the body.

Astrocytoma of the brain

This tumor process can develop in any part of the body. For example, glioma of the brain stem can be diagnosed. The process often develops in the cerebellum, optic nerve fibers. Glioma of the brain of this form affects very important cells - glial cells. They act as the main supporting components of the central nervous system. In connection with the fact that astrocytoma of the brain belongs to doctors to the category of malignant processes in more than half of cases, treatment of pathology must begin immediately.

Main Risk Factors

There are several provoking phenomena that increase the likelihood of the onset and development of a tumor. These include, in particular:

  • Influence of radioactive irradiation. In patients who are diagnosed with another type of cancer that has undergone previous courses of radiotherapy, astrocytoma of the brain occurs more often.
  • Hereditary predisposition.

The choice of this or that tactics of treatment is greatly influenced by the degree of tumor development, the size and the place where the astrocytoma of the brain is located. The prognosis of pathology is very ambiguous. In general, it must be said that the development and progression of the tumor does not depend on the age at which the patient is living - the disease can appear in both a small child and elderly patients. However, the latter pay more attention to their health, but also often engage in self-medication. In this category of patients with a high degree of development, astrocytomas are the lowest.

General clinical picture

Astrocytoma of the brain is accompanied by various manifestations. Symptoms mainly depend on the location of the tumor. Here it is necessary to note that at the initial stages pathology can not manifest itself in any way. The first signs of the disease can appear when the astrocytoma of the brain has significantly increased in size.

The main signs of a tumor

The astrocytoma is followed by:

  • Pain. Its focus depends on the location of the tumor. The effect of painkillers is ineffective at any dose.
  • Visual disorders.
  • Seizures.
  • Emetic urges, nausea.
  • Weakened memory.
  • Speech disorders.
  • Changes in behavior, character, frequent change of mood.
  • Violations in gait or coordination.
  • Hallucinations.
  • The appearance of weakness (common or in the extremities).
  • Difficulties with writing.
  • Complexities with fine motor skills of the fingers. These symptoms can be paroxysmal or permanent, depending on the location of the tumor cells.

Causes of pathology

This area has not been sufficiently studied to date. Experts identified some factors that contribute to the development of the disease. In particular, they include:

  • Associated pathologies: tuberculous or tubercular sclerosis, von Hippel-Landau syndrome, neurofibromatosis.
  • Activities in hazardous production. In this case, we are talking about enterprises for the disposal of radioactive waste, gas and oil refining industry, chemical production.
  • Weakness or disruption of the immune system.

If any of the above factors is added, the likelihood of developing this type of tumors is increased several times. In this case it is necessary to undergo regular inspections. This will allow timely detection of the astrocytoma in the early stages, preventing its further development. This is especially true for those patients who are at risk and have a hereditary predisposition to pathology.

Diagnostic measures

Today, several methods are used to identify the disease, to recognize the stage of pathology. In particular, they include:

1. Tomography. This type of study is divided into several subspecies. With their help, you can diagnose an astrocytoma. Tomography happens:

  • Magnetic Resonance. This study is considered one of the most accurate today. Thanks to this method, a specialist can reveal the degree of malignancy - on the image, the tumor sites will be highlighted.
  • Computer. In the course of this study, a layered image of all brain structures is created. With the help of computed tomography, the structure and features of tumor localization are revealed.
  • Positron emission. Before the procedure, a small dose of radioactive glucose is injected into the vein of the patient. It will be an indicator by which you can easily identify the site of the tumor. Glucose will accumulate in areas of high and low malignancy. The latter will absorb less sugar. With the help of positron emission tomography, the effectiveness of the treatment used is also assessed.

2. Biopsy. This method involves taking a fragment of the affected material and its investigation. It is the biopsy that allows you to establish the final accurate diagnosis.

3. Angiography. This procedure involves the introduction of a special dye, with the help of which the vessels that feed the tumor tissues are determined. This method allows you to plan surgical intervention.

4. Neurological examination. As a rule, this method is auxiliary. Neurological examination consists in evaluating the work of the brain and the correctness of reflexes.

Stages of pathology

There are four main stages of the disease and, accordingly, four forms of the tumor:

  • Pilocartic astrocytoma of the brain. The prognosis of this pathology is most favorable, since this new formation is considered benign. Nevertheless, when untimely referral to a specialist, the probability of this form becoming malignant is increased to 70%.
  • Fibrillar astrocytoma. This type of tumor is also considered benign. However, at this, second, stage of the disease, the risk of a new tumor becoming malignant is even higher.
  • Anaplastic astrocytoma of the brain. This is the third stage of pathology. Anaplastic astrocytoma grows very quickly. Healthy cells are affected by the tumor quite actively. Anaplastic astrocytoma quite often leads to the fourth stage.
  • Glyoblastoma. This is the last stage of the disease. At this stage, the patient suffers severe headaches. Specialists prescribe very strong painkillers.

It should be noted that in the first stage, tumor cells practically do not differ from healthy cells. What can not be said when the patient has anaplastic astrocytoma of the brain. The forecast for the last two stages is very disappointing. The tissues of the organ can hardly be called normally functioning. There are other types of tumors. These include, in particular, the diffuse and piloid astrocytoma of the brain.


Therapeutic tactics are chosen by a specialist depending on the general condition of the patient, the stage of pathology. Surgical intervention is used, as a rule, at a low degree of malignancy. In these cases, complete resection of the neoplasm is not always possible. In this regard, some patients may be prescribed radiation therapy. Here, however, it should be said that this alternative method is not always effective at the initial stages of the pathology, therefore its application can be postponed until the appearance of new signs. With a high degree of malignancy, complete elimination of the tumor is impossible. In this regard, experts appoint additional measures to kill the affected cells. As additional methods of exposure, a specialist can prescribe radio- or chemotherapy, irradiation. Thanks to these procedures it is possible to stop the growth of the tumor. If it is impossible to completely eliminate the neoplasm due to its germination in tissues located nearby, surgical intervention is prescribed in order to reduce its size.

Radiation therapy

With the help of this type of exposure, cells that participate in the life-support of the tumor are affected. At the same time, healthy tissues remain intact. Radiation therapy is conducted in courses. This can significantly improve the quality of therapeutic effects. Treatment in this case can be carried out in two ways:

  • Internal exposure. In this case, special radioactive substances are introduced into the damaged tissue .
  • External exposure. In this case, the radiation source is located outside the human body.


This technique involves the use of drugs that can kill the cells of the neoplasm. Penetrating into the blood, substances spread through the body, reaching pathological foci. Chemotherapeutic drugs are released in the form of solutions, tablets, catheters. This allows you to choose the best option for each patient. Chemotherapy, however, has a disadvantage. It consists in the fact that, together with the tumor cells, healthy cells of the body also die.

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