What is Anaplastic Astrocytoma?
- The Anaplastic astrocytoma is defined as an uncommon cancerous tumor in the brain. These tumors form from several brain cells that are shaped as a star and are known as astrocytes. Cells like astrocytes develop the tissue that nears and shields other nerve cells that are present in the spinal cord and the brain. Together, all these cells are called glial cells, and the glial tissue is the tissue that they develop. Astrocytomas are one of the tumors that come from glial tissues and known as gliomas. Anaplastic astrocytoma is a kind of brain cancer. This Anaplastic astrocytoma comes in the class of high-grade gliomas that are persistently analogous gliomas and that take an improper clinical prediction. Anaplastic astrocytoma also lacks vascular multiplication.
- The tumors that are caused in Anaplastic astrocytoma comprise of cells that are both normal and abnormal. The two kind of astrocytomas are low-grade astrocytomas and high-grade astrocytomas. The astrocytomas that have a tendency to grow slow are low-grade astrocytomas, whereas the ones which have a tendency to grow at a high pace are high-grade astrocytomas.
What are the signs and symptoms of Anaplastic Astrocytoma?
- The symptoms of anaplastic astrocytoma vary depending upon the exact location and size of the tumor. Most symptoms result from increased pressure within the brain. An anaplastic astrocytoma usually develops slowly over time, but may develop rapidly.
- Increased pressure within the brain may be caused by the tumor itself or by blockage of the fluid-filled spaces in the brain called ventricles, which results in the abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the brain. Symptoms commonly associated with anaplastic astrocytoma include headaches, lethargy or drowsiness, vomiting, and changes in personality or mental status. In some cases, seizures, vision problems, weakness of the arms and legs resulting in coordination difficulties may also occur.
- More specific symptoms relate to the area of brain where the tumor is located. Anaplastic astrocytoma may develop in any area of the central nervous system, although there is a strong preference for the large rounded portion of the brain (cerebrum) that occupies most of the skull. The cerebrum is divided into two halves known as the cerebral hemispheres. Anaplastic astrocytoma may develop in the frontal, temporal, parietal and occipital lobes of the cerebrum.
- A tumor in the frontal lobe may cause memory problems, changes in personality and mood, and paralysis (hemiplegia) on the side of the body opposite of the tumor. Tumors in the temporal lobe may cause seizures, memory problems, and problems with coordination and speech. Tumors in the parietal lobe may cause difficulties with communication through writing (agraphia), problems with fine motor skills, or sensory abnormalities such as tingling or burning sensations (paresthesias). Tumors in the occipital lobe can cause visual loss.
- Other common sites for anaplastic astrocytoma include the part of the brain that contains the thalamus and hypothalamus (diencephalon), the lower area of brain near the back of the neck that controls movement and balance (cerebellum), and the spinal cord. Tumors in the diencephalon region may cause headaches, fatigue, weakness of the arms and legs, vision problems, and hormonal imbalances. Tumors in the cerebellum may cause headaches, changes in personality or behavior, and balance problems. Tumors of spinal cord may cause back pain, sensory abnormalities such as tingling or burning sensations (paresthesias), weakness, and gait disturbances.
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1. What is the cause of anaplastic astrocytoma?
- The exact cause of anaplastic astrocytoma is unknown. Researchers speculate that genetic and immunologic abnormalities, environmental factors (e.g., exposure to ultraviolet rays, certain chemicals and ionizing radiation), diet, stress, and/or other factors may play contributing roles in causing specific types of cancer. Investigators are conducting ongoing basic research to learn more about the many factors that may result in cancer.
- Astrocytoma occurs with greater frequency in certain genetic disorders including neurofibromatosis type I, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, and tuberous sclerosis. Except in these rare disorders, the vast majority of astrocytomas are not passed on to offspring with greater frequency. Researchers believe that some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to developing an astrocytoma. A person who is genetically predisposed to a disorder carries a gene (or genes) for the anaplastic astrocytoma, but it may not be expressed unless it is triggered or "activated" under certain circumstances, such as due to particular environmental factors.
2. What are the risks associated with anaplastic astrocytoma?
- The only apparent risk of anaplastic astrocytoma may be the abnormal functioning of the brain. The working of the brain might be hampered because of anaplastic astrocytoma as a consequence of which, the tumor might form.
3. What are the possible ways to prevent anaplastic astrocytoma?
- To prevent anaplastic astrocytoma, there are no rules or guidelines to follow, because the causes of anaplastic astrocytoma are still not precisely found out.
4. How is anaplastic astrocytoma treated?
- The options of treatment are contingent upon size and type of anaplastic astrocytoma and to what extent anaplastic astrocytoma has spread