Gliomas

Monday, May 30, 2011

A glioma is a type of tumor that starts in the brain or spine. It is called a glioma because it arises from glial cells. Dr. Edward Hill tells us more about gliomas in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Gliomas are primary brain tumors involving glial cells, which provide nutrients, oxygen, and other support to neurons.

Malignant gliomas are the most common primary brain tumors, accounting for about 10,000 primary malignant brain tumors diagnosed yearly in the United States. They are a common cause of cancer death in persons 15 to 44 years old and affect more men than women.

The causes of gliomas are not known. Symptoms of gliomas depend on the part of the brain involved but can include headaches, nausea and vomiting, seizures, balance or walking problems or changes in vision or hearing.

Perhaps the most important classification is by grade. Low-grade gliomas tend to grow slowly and are associated with a better prognosis. High-grade gliomas have a tendency to spread and are associated with a worse prognosis.

Treatment depends on the cell type, location, and grade of the glioma. Often, treatment consists of a combined approach, using surgery to remove as much of the tumor as is safely possible, then radiotherapy, and chemotherapy.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.