Pediatric Anaplastic Astrocytoma

Pediatric Anaplastic Astrocytoma

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Summary

Anaplastic astrocytoma is a rare condition that causes a brain tumor to form.

Expanded overview

Anaplastic astrocytoma is a rare brain tumor. Astrocytomas are tumors that develop from brain cells called astrocytes, which regulate the transmission of electrical impulses in the brain. In most cases, these tumors develop slowly, though they can also grow rapidly. This condition affects males slightly more than it affects females, and can occur at any age.

Types

The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies these tumors into a grading system based on how quickly the cells are reproducing and the likelihood they will spread to nearby tissue. There are four grades (1-4); the lower the grade, the less likely the tumor will also be cancerous. For example, a grade 1 tumor is diagnosed at the first stage and is non-malignant (non-cancerous). It’s important to note that lower grade astrocytomas can turn into higher-grade forms over time.

Symptoms

Most symptoms from anaplastic astrocytomas result from increased pressure within the brain. Symptoms vary based on which areas of the brain are affected by the tumors and include:

  • Changes in personality
  • Drowsiness
  • Headaches
  • Memory problems
  • Seizures
  • Speech problems
  • Tingling or burning sensation
  • Vision problems
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness of the arms and legs, often causing problems with coordination

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