About one-third of all brain tumors are gliomas, which originate in the glial cells that surround and support the neurons in the brain. Gliomas are called intra-axial brain tumors because they grow within the substance of the brain and often mix with normal brain tissue.
Gliomas are graded, or divided, into levels based upon their rate of growth and potential for rapid deterioration. The higher the grade, the more aggressive the tumor. A glioma can affect your brain function and be life-threatening depending on its location and rate of growth.
Gliomas cause symptoms by pressing on the brain or spinal cord. The most common symptoms include:
Treatments for gliomas depend upon the grade and will typically involve a combination of therapies including surgical removal, chemotherapy, and radiation. Astrocytomas, the most common of these tumors, are tumors that sprout from abnormal astrocyte cells, which support neuron function and generation in the brain, among other things. Astrocytomas are graded on a scale of 1 through 4, with 4 being the most serious form.