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What is glioma?

A glioma is a type of tumor that happen in brain or spine. Glioma arise from the glial in the brain. The function of these glial cells is to surround the nerve cells and help them function. Gliomas usually occurs in the cerebral hemisphere of the brain. 

Glioma can be produced by three types of glial cells. Gliomas are classified on the basis of

  • The type of glial cells involved in form the tumor
  • Tumor’s genetic feature

Glioma can only make up only about one third of the brain tumor.

Types of glioma:

  • Astrocytoma: This is a type of glioma in which tumor generates from astrocytes. Astrocytes are the star shaped glial cells present in the brain.
  • Ependymoma: This type of glioma develops from the cells lining the cavities of the brain and the spinal cord. This type of glioma is most common among children.
  • Glioblastoma: This type of glioma is rare which can occur in the brain or the spine. These are form from both glial cells and nerve cells.
  • Oligodendrogliomas: These gliomas develop from oligodendrocytes, that are glial cells that normally form a cover for nerve fibers in the brain.

A glioma can influence your brain functioning and be life threatening, it depends upon its area and rate of development.

Gliomas are one of the most widely recognized sorts of essential cerebrum tumors.

The kind of glioma you have decides your treatment and your prognosis. Generally, the treatments include medical procedure, radiation treatment, chemotherapy, directed treatment and exploratory clinical preliminaries.

Symptoms of glioma:

Symptoms of glioma may vary according to the size, location and rate of growth.

Common symptoms of glioma include:

  • Headache
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Memory loss
  • Confusion
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Lack of speech
  • Difficulty with balance
  • Seizures, most likely when someone having a history of seizures.
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Personality change or irritability

Causes of glioma

Exact cause of glioma is not known, like most of the brain tumors. However, there are some factors that may increase the risk of a brain tumor.

Risk factors of glioma:

Your age: The risk of developing a brain tumor increases with the age. Gliomas are most common in the people of age between 45 to 65. Although, a brain tumor can develop at any age.

Radiation exposure: If you have been exposed to ionizing radiation than the risk of developing a brain tumor may increase. Example of ionizing radiation are radiation therapy used to treat malignancy and radiation exposure caused by nuclear bombs. More-normal types of radiation, for example, electromagnetic radiation from electrical cables and radiofrequency radiation from microwaves have not been appeared to expand the danger of glioma.

Family history of glioma: If any of your family member ever had glioma than your risk of developing glioma is double.

Diagnosis of glioma:

If your health care provider suspects you have a brain tumor, they may refer you to a specialist (neurologist). Your health care provider may advise you some tests and procedures. These procedures may include:

  • A neurological examination: During a neurological exam, your health care provider may check your vision, hearing, balance, coordination, strength and reflexes. If they may see problems in one or more of these areas this may give clues about the part of your brain that could be affected by a brain tumor.
  • Imaging tests: Your healthcare provider will send you for an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan. MRI helps to diagnose brain tumor. There are some cases in which they may injected contrast media (dye) through your arm during your MRI examination. This will help to show differences in a brain tissue. Other imaging tests include CT and PET scan.
  • Guided biopsy: Biopsy is a procedure in which a sample of abnormal tissue is collected and clinically tested in the guidance of a CT scan. As per the location of the glioma, the biopsy may be performed with a needle.

Treatment for glioma:

Treatment of glioma depends upon the size, type, grade and location of the tumor as well as age of the patient, overall health and preference.

Before the removal of the tumor, the treatment includes the requirement of drugs to reduce the signs and symptoms of the tumor.

Surgery: The removal of the tumor, in some cases it is not much complicated to separate small sized glioma from surrounding healthy tissue of brain. In these cases, complete surgical removal of glioma is possible. But, in other cases the tumor can’t be separated from surrounding tissues, this can be complicated. In these situations, you surgeon removes as much of the tumor as is safe.

Radiation therapy: The radiation therapy is used to kill the tumor cells by using radiation. Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams such as x-rays/protons.

Chemotherapy: In chemotherapy the tumor cells killed by using drugs. Chemotherapy drug can be injected into your vein (intravenously) or taken in pill form (orally). Chemotherapy is usually combined with radiation therapy for the treatment of glioma.

Targeted drug therapy: Drugs are given to block the abnormalities; targeted drug therapy can cause tumor cells to die.