Astrocytoma is a type of cancer that affects the brain. The Astrocytoma develops from glial cells which will be in star shape. Glial cells will support the nerve cells. Anaplastic Astrocytoma is considered as a Grade II tumor. The disadvantage with Anaplastic Astrocytoma is that it will spread at a quicker pace than the grade II Astrocytomas. The tumor cells will not come into view in a uniform way. The neighboring tissue will be affected in this process. This kind of cancer is more prominent in males whose age is in between 30 and 50. The disease is more prevalent in men rather than in women. 2% of the all the brain tumors belong to Anaplastic Astrocytoma.
The symptoms will arise out of the increased pressure in the head region. The symptoms might appear in a gradual way or in an abrupt manner. Some of the common symptoms are headache, lethargy, vomiting, seizures, compression of the brain structure, weakness and motor dysfunction. There will be a change in the behavior of the person and the thought process will change. It is required to consult the physician as the symptoms will be similar in nature to that of other kinds of diseases.
Physical examination of the patient will take place before subjecting him for various diagnostic procedures. Cross sectional images are produced through a CT scan. By using CT scan, a detailed picture can be reached and it is more efficient than X-ray. Through CT scans, the presence of tumor will be ascertained. When a person is affected with Anaplastic Astrocytoma, the shape of the mass will be irregular. The presence of lesions can be figured out through the intravenous injections.
MRI and MRS are other diagnostic tools for Anaplastic Astrocytoma. MRI produces better picture than CT scan. It is possible to distinguish the difference between hemorrhage and a tumor cyst through MRI. A tissue sample will be collected to further investigate the disease and the tumor will be confirmed.
How to treat the condition?
The treatment for Anaplastic Astrocytoma will depend on the location of the tumor. The standard treatment options are surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Radiation or chemotherapy is administered in patients who will not respond to surgery. A number of clinical trials are going where a combination of the above methods are used so that the life expectancy can be increased.
The factors that influence the treatment include age, patient’s health condition and previous medical history. The type and location of the tumor will also decide the prevalence of the disease. The tolerance to various kinds of medications will be taken into consideration before deciding the treatment option. In most of the cases of Anaplastic Astrocytoma, surgical procedure will be adopted so that the affected tissue will be removed. Radiation therapy will be given after subjecting the patient to surgical procedures. Through chemotherapy, the entire blood stream will be treated so that cancerous cells will be killed. The side effects from the treatment will vary from one person to another person.