A tumor that occurs in the brain and in the spinal cord is called a glioma. This type of tumor forms in the supportive cells that are known as the glial cells. These gluey cells surround nerve cells in order to help them function.
There are three types of glial cells that are capable of producing tumors. A glioma is classified according to the type of glial cell that formed the tumor.
The types of glioma include:
- Astrocytomas – which include astrocytoma, anaplastic astrocytoma and glioblastoma
- Ependymomas – which including anaplastic ependymoma, myxopapillary ependymoma and subependymoma
- Oligodendrogliomas – which including oligodendroglioma, anaplastic oligodendroglioma and anaplastic oligoastrocytoma
The symptoms a person can experience with a glioma are similar to those produced by other brain tumors and depend on size and location of the area of the brain that is affected. Much like other brain tumors, some symptoms include headaches, seizures, physical weakness, visual symptoms, language problems, memory loss and personality changes. As the tumor continues to grow, the symptoms may worsen or change.
The type of glioma helps determine treatment and a prognosis. In general, glioma treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy and experimental clinical trials.
Currently, Delray Medical Center is taking part in a worldwide clinical trial for the treatment of gliomas.