Neurons can never be the cause for any brain tumors. Neurons by nature are incapable of dividing and growing, which is how any form of cancer spreads. Most brain tumors as a matter of fact originate from other cells that functionally nourish or support the neurons. These cells are known as glial cell and are the cause for gliomas, a type of brain tumor that not only causes brain damage but also invades into the soft brain tissues.
The National brain tumor Society researched 6 different types of glial cells. However, according to them not all the glial cells form gliomas. Astrocyte is one of the commonly known glial cells that form gliomas or astrocytoma. Often gliomas are spotted in the brain stem, in ependymal cell or in tissues producing cerebrospinal fluids, in oligodendrocytes or the protective sheath that surrounds the neurons and in the optic nerve.
The intrusiveness of the glial cells is the factor that decides under which grade these cells can be classified. The cells are graded between Grade I to Grade IV with IV considered a very aggressive type of cancer. The look of the cancerous cells when observed through a microscope also helps in grading them. Cells that appear similar looking to the healthy ones fall under the low grade category while anaplastic cell or cells displaying higher abnormalities fall under the higher grade categories. Another point to consider while classifying Gliomas is whether they spread to the different parts of one’s brain or body.
As per Mayo Clinic, the symptoms for glioma vary based on the tumor’s growth rate and its location. Headaches, sudden nausea, dizziness, seizures, confusion and vomiting are few of its common symptoms. Patients may experience a change in their personality and complications with their five senses like auditory or visual problems.
Patients showing symptoms of having glioma are first advised to take a complete neurological and physical examination to confirm if there are any dysfunctions or abnormalities in the nervous system. CT scan or an MRI is also helpful to detect glioma or any other brain tumors. In case the imaging tests detect any lumps, a biopsy is required to give a definite diagnosis of glioma.
The Mayo Clinic says that surgical removal of tumor is the best possible treatment. Often Radiation therapy is used where the cancerous cells are exposed to high energy X-ray radiations that damage and kill the cells. Many oncologists use chemotherapy on their patients as a treatment for gliomas. Here the cancerous cells are poisoned by using medications. Other new therapies also known as targeted therapies attack the cancerous cells more innovatively. Angiogenesis inhibitors, like bevacizumab, ensure that the brain tumors do not make any fresh blood vessels. Thus, the absence of oxygen causes these cancer cells to die.
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