The staff at Kuether Brain and Spine are experts in diagnosing and treating various brain cancers and tumors. There are more than 140 types of brain and central nervous system tumors, according to the World Health Organization. Today, we want to explore low-grade astrocytomas, which is a type of brain tumor.

An astrocytoma is “a type of glioma that develops from star-shaped cells (also known as astrocytes) that support nerve cells. An astrocytoma is considered to be a stage II or low-grade tumor. For a bit of context, astrocytes live in the brain. Their role and function depends on where they are in the brain. Some of their functions include “neurogenesis, synaptogenesis as well as controlling blood, brain barrier permeability and maintaining extracellular homeostasis.” These functions are critical for the brain to operate effectively.

Astrocytomas usually are slower to spread and rarely spread to different areas of the central nervous system, but its borders are not well-defined. It is more common in men and women between the ages of the 20s through the 50s. The symptoms of an astrocytoma includes “persistent headaches, blurred or double vision, vomiting, loss of appetite, changes in mood, personality or ability to think or learn, seizures and a gradual onset of speech difficulties.”

Treatment for an astrocytoma is dependent on its size and location within the brain. A neurosurgeon like Dr. Kuether will likely perform a biopsy or surgery to remove the tumor. Inoperable tumors are usually treated with radiation therapy and reoccurring tumors require additional surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy.

If you or a loved is concerned about a possible neurological disorder or tumor, please seek medical attention. Fortunately, the team at Kuether Brain and Spine is ready to help any of those fighting an astrocytoma or other brain tumors.