Get to know Astrocytoma, a type of tumor that can be life threatening

Among the many types of tumors, there is one very dangerous tumor, namely astrocytoma. As the name suggests, this tumor has a star shape like astrocyte cells. Although it can attack the spinal cord, it more often attacks the cerebrum.

Treatment of this disease requires interprofessional collaboration from each relevant specialist doctor. Among them are specialists in neurology (nerves), oncology, neurosurgery, and radiation oncology specialists. For those who want to know what the symptoms and treatment are for this disease, please see the details below.

What is an Astrocytoma?

Astrocytoma (astrocytoma) is a type of star-shaped tumor (astrocyte cells) located in glial cells that attacks the central nervous system.

This disease can be cancerous. Astrocytoma itself is the most common glioma found in the medical world. Glioma itself is a tumor that forms in glial cells that grow uncontrollably.

Without proper treatment, Astrocytoma can harm the sufferer, from causing various complications to even threatening life. Generally, surgery or surgery is the first choice for treatment of this disease.

Disease Name                        Astrocytoma

  • Main Symptoms                        Headaches, cognitive impairment, nausea, vomiting,                                                                     communication problems.
  • Medical specialist                      Neurology specialist, neurosurgery specialist, radiation                                                                 oncology specialist, surgical oncology specialist.
  • Reason                                       Family history, head injury.
  • Diagnosis                                   Physical check, supporting check, medical interview.
  • Risk Factors                                Family history of brain tumors, genetic mutations, ionizing                                                           radiation.
  • Treatment                                  Chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy.
  • Complications                           Seizures, nervous disorders, infections.

Who is at Risk?

Risk factors for Astrocytoma disease are susceptible to those who have the following conditions:

  • Genetic mutation
  • Family history of brain tumors
  • Ionizing radiation
  • There is an injury to the head


Researchers still don’t know what causes Astrocytoma. In fact, this type of tumor occurs randomly regardless of age.

So far, researchers have identified several main possibilities why someone gets this disease, namely:

  • Genetic (family history)
  • Radiation exposure
  • Genetic mutation (IDH1 gene)

Types of Astrocytomas

There are no specific standards used to determine the stage level of Astrocytoma tumors as is the case with cancer. However, if you refer to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), there are 4 stages of Astrocytoma which are classified according to how long the sufferer survives with this disease. Here’s the full details:

  • Stage I Pilocytic astrocytomas More than 10 years Children and adolescents
  • Stage II Low-grade diffuse astrocytomas More than 5 years Adults aged 20 – 60
  • Stage III Anaplastic astrocytomas Between 2 – 5 years Adults aged 30 – 60
  • Stage IV Glioblastoma Approximately 1 year Adults aged 50 – 80


Symptoms of Astrocytoma vary greatly in each patient. This is because the location, size and stage of the disease will cause different symptoms. Here are some of them:

  • Seizures
  • Nauseous
  • Vomit
  • Headache
  • Memory loss
  • Tired
  • Body reflex disorders
  • Depression
  • Dementia
  • Delirium
  • Vision problems
  • Speech problems (aphasia)


In diagnosing, the doctor will take several actions. Among them are:

  • Medical interview: which will ask what complaints he is suffering from, medical history, family history, risk factors, history of head injuries, family health history, and much more.
  • Physical examination: the doctor will evaluate in depth the nerves, vital signs, and various other necessary examinations.
  • Supporting examination: if it still cannot be clearly identified, then a supporting examination will be carried out. Examples are MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and also CT scans.


Because the main cause is not certain, prevention methods are not yet available. So, one method that can be used is to reduce preventable risk factors.

For example, by avoiding head injuries, such as using head protection when driving or working in the field. Also cure several other diseases that are risk factors for this disease.


Talking about treatment, Astrocytoma can generally only be cured by surgical removal of the tumor for level 1 and level 2 (rare). That is, if the neurosurgeon can safely remove the entire tumor.

For stages or levels 3 and 4, triple modalities are carried out in the form of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation because the tumor grows very quickly and can even spread to other parts. However, its growth can be slowed down with several treatments such as:


If treatment is not carried out as soon as possible, Astrocytoma can cause several other health problems such as:

  • Infection
  • Movement disorders
  • Blindness
  • Nervous disorders
  • Seizures
  • Recurrence

When should you see a doctor?

If you have symptoms such as memory problems, extreme weight loss, seizures, headaches that don’t go away, and decreased vision, immediately visit a neurologist, oncologist, radiation oncologist, or neurosurgeon.

This disease requires inter professional collaboration considering that brain tumors are serious, life-threatening diseases. With treatment and treatment as early as possible, tumor development can be suppressed and can even be completely cured.

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