Gliomas

WHAT ARE GLIOMAS?

Gliomas are brain tumours which occur in the glial cells of the brain. Glial cells are the cells that make up the brain’s supportive tissue. The most common form of gliomas are Astrocytomas.

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Symptoms

The symptoms of gliomas vary depending on the size and location of the brain tumour, and may include:
 
  • headaches (often worse first thing in the morning)
  • nausea and/or vomiting
  • personality and/or mood changes
  • seizures
  • memory problems
  • speech impairment
  • weakness
  • unsteadiness

Types of gliomas

There are three main types of gliomas and depending on the type and severity of the condition, different treatment options will be presented. Most gliomas are astrocytomas, but other types include oligodendroglioma and ependymoma.

ASTROCYTOMAS

Astrocytomas are brain tumours that arise from a type of glial cell known as an astrocyte cell. Astrocytomas are categorised into 4 grades:

Grade 1

These tumours are usually benign (non-cancerous). They are also known as pilocytic astrocytomas.

Grade 2

These are 'low-grade gliomas'. They are not very aggressive, however often become aggressive with time.

Grade 3

Astrocytomas (‘anaplastic astrocytomas’). These are more aggressive than low-grade gliomas.

Grade 4

The most aggressive type of astrocytomas are Grade 4 (‘glioblastoma multiform’).

Treatment

Astrocytomas may be treated with surgery, radiotherapy, and/or chemotherapy.