What is Anaplastic Astrocytoma ?
Anaplastic astrocytoma is a kind of brain tumor or cancer that is known to commonly affect brain cells known as astrocytes. The cells are widely defined by their shape which is usually star shaped and also known as the supportive tissues of the brain.
These cells collectively go by the name glial cells while forming a tissue known as glial tissue. Anaplastic Astrocytoma is generally grouped into four grades depending on how fast the cancerous cells spread to other tissues.
Anaplastic astrocytoma tends to be more prevalent in men than women and usually affects cerebral hemispheres of the brain in adults, but in kids it manifests itself mostly in the brain stem.
Infiltrating anaplastic astrocytoma is known to grow faster and spread widely as compared to the non infiltrating anaplastic astrocytoma, but the non infiltrating form is the one that is mostly common in people.
It is known to a have a wide range of symptoms depending on the person who is affected with it, but the most common types of symptoms in many people include the changes in personality and mental status.
Some people tend to have eyesight issues which can sometimes lead to double vision. Mild headaches are also widely known to accompany this array of symptoms.
The Grades of Anaplastic Astrocytoma
Grade I Anaplastic Astrocytoma is a non infiltrating form of anaplastic astrocytoma, thus rare to be found in many people. The most common of this grade 1 is known as pilocytic astrocytoma also known as juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma. This kind of tumor is known to grow slowly; it has the ability of becoming large thus destroying one’s brain completely leading to severe Brain damage.
Piloctic anaplastic astrocytoma mainly occurs in the cerebellum cerebrum and optic nerve system of the brain. This form of anaplastic astrocytoma is more prevalent in kids and teens accounting up to 2% of all possible brain tumors.
Grade II form of the anaplastic astrocytoma is in the category of the infiltrating types of brain tumors thus commonly found in many people. This kind of tumor tends to grow in a slow pattern but tends to have no clear pattern borders. It is not mostly found in kids and teens as grade I is, but highly prevalent between in adults within the ages of 20 and 40.
Grade III form of anaplastic astrocytoma is widely considered malignant due to its ability to grow faster and affect other close brain tissues. This form of anaplastic astrocytoma can be highly dangerous if not detected early as it can lead to severe brain impairment due to its vast growth. Grade III anaplastic astrocytoma is more common in adults between the ages of 30 and 50 and usually known to account up to 4% of brain tumors affecting different people.
Grade IV form of anaplastic astrocytoma is the most dangerous grade of this kind of brain tumor as it tends to be more aggressive. This kind of anaplastic astrocytoma is also known as glioblastoma multiforme due to its wide appearance under the microscope. This form of anaplastic astrocytoma is mostly common in people in the age brackets of 50 and 80 and accounts up to 23% of all primary brain tumors.
The Treatments for Anaplastic astrocytoma
Anaplastic astrocytoma is treated by neuro-oncologists and neurologists. Anticonvulsant therapy is advisable for people with severe seizures. Corticosteroids like dexamethasone are found to reduce and slowdown tumor growth as soon as it’s consumed.
Initial and standard procedure of treatment is to remove the tumor as much as possible and as early as possible. There are no damages done to neurologic deficits. Severe and serious cases of anaplastic astrocytoma have large tumors with tentacles; this makes them tougher to operate and control.
Moreover, the age of the patient, level of health, medical history, size of the tumor and the tolerance of the patient for the medications are also important while considering the proper treatment for this tumor. The type of treatment to be done is recommended by the doctor after a complete research of the cancer in the patient’s body.
The standard treatments of anaplastic astrocytoma include surgery and radiation therapy. Chemotherapy during radiation therapy or after the therapy is also included in the standard treatments. In case, surgery cannot be done, the doctors recommend the radiation therapy along with the chemotherapy.
The main aim of these treatments is to remove the tumor without causing any side effects to the neurologic deficits. After the removal of the tumor by surgery, radiation therapy is useful in controlling the growth of the tumor cells. The more the tumor is controlled results in more chances of survival of the patient.
In case of recurrent anaplastic astrocytoma, treatment by temozolomide drug can be effective. The drug is introduced into the bloodstream in the patient’s body. It travels along with the blood to kill the cancer cells. In Chemotherapy, the patient’s are given pills to swallow, or injections into the fat tissues of the body. Intravenous therapy includes the infusion of the medicated liquid directly into the veins. Medicated liquids are also introduced into the spinal column of the patient’s body using a needle.
Managing the Side Effects for Anaplastic Astrocytoma
After the treatment of anaplastic astrocytoma various side effects can arise in the patient’s body. The surgery treatment can result in neurologic deficits. Some patients can suffer from inflammation after the radiation therapy. Chemotherapy may result in side effects like headache, fatigue, constipation and diarrhea.
These common health issues can be further cured by the medications or treatments like acupressure, aroma therapies, herbal treatments and massage therapies. These treatments show results slowly, however, are known to give the best results. In some cases, these treatments can continue for 3 to 6 months. Also, there are no side effects for these natural therapies.
Survival Rate of Anaplastic Astrocytoma
After all the treatments are done; the question arises about the survival chances of the patients. It is rarely found that the tumor in the case of anaplastic astrocytoma has been completely removed. Generally, the chance of survival even after the treatments are done is 5-years. The life of the patient depends upon the percentage of tumor removed from the patient’s brain.
After knowing the facts of treatments of anaplastic astrocytoma, one would surely be hopeful in going for the treatments for the survival. Life always gives us chance and it is always good to take 100% benefit of those chances and treatments, isn’t it?
It is our life and we all wish to live it forever. Be hopeful and pray all the time so that your treatments of anaplastic astrocytoma can be successful.