What is the definition of Glioma?

Gliomas are a common type of brain tumor that develop from glial cells, which are specialized cells that surround and support neurons (nerve cells) in the brain. Gliomas are generally classified based on which type of glial cell is involved in the tumor: Astocytomas are a type of glioma that develop from star-shaped glial cells called astrocytes. Astrocytomas are the most common type of glioma. Ependymomas are another type of glioma that develop from ependymal cells that line the brain and spinal cord. Ependymomas are more likely to affect children than adults.  Optic gliomas affect the optic nerves, which send messages from the eyes to the brain.  Other notable types include diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas, mixed gliomas, and oligodendrogliomas.

What are the causes for Glioma?

The cause of gliomas is still unknown. However, gliomas generally tend to be more common in adults than children. Men are also more likely to develop gliomas than women. 

What are the symptoms for Glioma?

The symptoms of gliomas vary by type as well as grade (aggressiveness) of the tumor. Common symptoms may include headaches, dizziness, vision loss, trouble balancing, nausea and vomiting, speech difficulties, personality changes and/or seizures. 

What are the current treatments for Glioma?

Treatment for a glioma depends on several factors based on the type, size, and location of the tumor. Most treatment plans are designed based on an individual patient's unique situation. In general, treatment for glioma may include surgery, radiation therapy, and/or chemotherapy. Surgery to remove the tumor is generally the first step in treating glioma. Depending on the tumor's location, surgery may be able to entirely remove smaller gliomas. However, if a tumor is located near a sensitive area in the brain, surgery may not be possible at all.  Radiation therapy often follows surgery for the treatment of glioma. Radiation therapy involves the use of high-energy beams, including X-rays or protons, to destroy tumor cells.  Chemotherapy involves the use of drugs, either taken orally or injected through a vein, to kill tumor cells. Chemotherapy is often used in combination with radiation therapy.

How do I prevent Glioma?

There is no known way to prevent gliomas. Gliomas can occur sporadically in people with no family history of the condition.  However, if you develop any symptoms common to a glioma, it is recommended to make an appointment with your doctor to be properly diagnosed.