Glioma

What is Glioma?

A glioma and gliobastoma is also called intra-axial brain tumors. Whatever they are called, they are tumors found in the brain and spinal cord. Gliomas begin in the brain because they affect the brain’s glial cells. Glial cells are a family of cells that normally surround neurons and keep them healthy.

There are many types of gliomas depending on where they are located and specific kind of glial cell is affected. Optic nerve glioma is misnamed because the tumors did not start in glial cells. The cause of any kind of glioma or even optic nerve gliomas are unknown but adult Caucasian men are most prone to getting them.

What are the Symptoms of Glioma?

Symptoms may come on gradually but generally get worse over time.

Symptoms include

The common symptoms of gliomas are headaches, seizures of any type, problems talking, problems with arm or leg strength, strange sensations of the face, feelings of numbness in one of more parts of the body and sudden bizarre personality changes. Uncommon symptoms include dizziness, constant nausea which may or may not cause vomiting, paralysis of one or more parts of the body and vision problems.

According to BrainFacts.org, most people with gliomas die within one year of symptoms becoming noticeable.

Glioma Causes

Glioma is an aggressive form of brain cancer affecting both children and adults. Like many cancers, doctors don’t have all the answers to what is a specific cause for glioma. They do know that there are some conditions that lead to the development of this cancer, and there are some risk factors that may lead to glioma development.

Doctors are fairly certain that there is a genetic factor at play in glioma development. Those with a family history of this cancer are much more likely to develop a glioma.

Some genetic diseases are know to lead to the development of glioma. Those with Li-Fraumeni syndrome, melanoma-astrocytoma syndrome, neurofibrmatosis and BRCA syndrome are at high-risk for all types of brain cancer.

Radiation is a cause of brain cancers in general. The type of radiation most likely to cause a glioma is ionizing radiation. People would normally be exposed to this type of radiation if they had received radiation treatment for cancer somewhere else in their body.

How is Glioma Treated?

Since there are other medical conditions that can cause these symptoms, a diagnosis is best left to medical professionals. Patients need a physical exam, a recounting of their medical history and undergo diagnostic tests like an MRI, CT scan or a biopsy of the tumor. Types of gliomas are determined as well as how severe or what grade they are.

Treatment includes

Treatments for gliomas are the same as for any other form of cancer. Depending on the location of the tumor and how quickly it grows, treatment could include surgery to remove the tumor, chemotherapy and radiation to help shrink it and stop it spreading. Chemotherapy and radiation may be the only alternatives if the tumor cannot be safely removed.

Glioma Prevention

At this time, doctors do not know of a specific way to prevent glioma, or most other brain cancers, apart from avoiding exposure to high levels of ionizing radiation if at all possible. With that in mind, there are some generally agreed upon ways that doctors have come up with that will help to prevent many types of cancer. These may be helpful in preventing brain cancers.

Doctors are certain that many cancers can be prevented by avoiding the use of tobacco products. Never smoking at all is a good way to prevent many ailments.

Diet plays a role in cancer prevention: people should eat a number of fruit and vegetables every day, as well as cutting down on red meat and processed foods. Maintaining a healthy weight is important, as well.

Doctors recommend physical activity as a means of cancer prevention. Moderate exercise should be performed several times each week.