Astrocytoma is type of brain tumor. It is a malignant (cancerous) tumor. This type of tumor begins from small, star-shaped cells in the brain. They are called astrocytes. Astrocytes are one of several types of supporting cells in the brain. These types of cells are called glial cells. An astrocytoma is a type of the larger group of brain tumors called gliomas.
Astrocytoma is the most common form of glioma. It may occur anywhere in the brain. It is most commonly found in:
- The cerebrum in adults—The largest part of the brain
- The cerebellum—A smaller part of the brain in the rear
- Brainstem—Connects the brain to the spinal cord
- Optic nerves in children—Nerve that leads from the brain to the eye
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When an astrocytoma is diagnosed, the most important factors are:
- Grade of tumor (how aggressive it looks under a microscope)
- Degree of side effects from the tumor
- Age of the patient
These factors will determine the symptoms, outlook, and treatment.
Last reviewedNovember 2012by Mohei Abouzied, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.