What is Malignant Glioma?
The glioma is the form of brain and spinal cord tumor that affects the glial cells in the region. The glial cells are the sticky supportive cells that surround the nerve cells in the body and help them to function normally.
This is a malignant form of tumor and hence, is also known as malignant glioma as well.
What are the types of Malignant Glioma?
There are mainly 3 types of glial cells that can support the growth of a tumor. A glioma is categorized according to the type of the glial cells it affects and forms the tumor from.
These are the different types of malignant glioma:
- Astrocytomas – this includes anaplastic astrocytoma and glioblastoma.
- Ependymomas – this includes anaplastic ependymoma, sub-ependymoma and myxopapillary ependymoma.
- Oligodendrogliomas – this includes Oligodendroglioma and anaplastic oligoastrocytoma.
The malignant glioma can affect the brain and nerves and cause various life-threatening complications. This is one of the most common types of primary brain tumors (cancers).
Determining the type of glioma (according to the cells being affected) will help the doctor to plan a proper and effective treatment strategy for cancer treatment successfully.
What are the signs and symptoms of Malignant Glioma?
There are various types of symptoms that are seen but different type of malignant glioma can exhibit different set of symptoms. The symptoms may also be dictated according to the size, location and rate of growth of the malignant glioma tumor.
These are the commonly seen signs and symptoms of malignant glioma:
- Decline in brain function/confusion
- Loss in memory
- Irritability/mood swings
- Balance problems
- Urinary incontinence
- Vision difficulties (blurred vision, double vision, peripheral vision loss)
- Speaking problems
It is highly advisable to consult an expert doctor immediately in case any of the above symptoms are seen (individually or in combination).
What are the risk factors that contribute towards Malignant Glioma?
Although, the exact cause for the development of malignant glioma is not known there are certain risk factors that have been identified as increasing the risk of the development of malignant glioma, these are:
- Age – Advancing age increases the risk of malignant glioma in a person. It most often occurs between the ages of 60 and 80 years. Although, a brain tumor can occur at any age.
- Radiation Exposure – People with prolonged exposure to radiation are at an increased risk of developing malignant glioma later on. Radiation exposure may be due to a prior radiation therapy for cancer treatment or other similar situations.
- Heredity – A family history of malignant glioma is also known to double the risk of developing malignant glioma.
How is Malignant Glioma diagnosed?
In case a glioma is suspected, the doctor will likely recommend several additional diagnostic tests to confirm the suspicion and to plan a suitable treatment strategy based on the diagnostic information received.
Neurology consultation – It may be in the form of a neurological exam where the neurologist will check for inconsistencies in vision, hearing, coordination, balance, reflexes and strength.
Imaging Test – These tests may include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans (sometimes using the contrast-dye method which helps to view any abnormalities in the soft tissues clearly and in detail. Other imaging tests include computerized tomography (CT) scan and positron emission tomography (PET) test which help in similar ways.
Cranial MRI – An MRI scan of the brain helps to determine if the cancer in the brain initially developed there or it spread from another part of the body.
Biopsy – This involves collecting a small sample of the tumor (cancerous cells) with the help of minimally invasive methods, such as a needle. This tissue sample is sent to a pathology laboratory for detailed analysis.
How is Malignant Glioma treated?
There are several treatment options available for malignant glioma, however, the exact type of treatment will depend on various factors such as, the type, size, location and stage of the glioma along with the patient’s age, overall health and the surgeon’s expertise.
These are the commonly performed malignant glioma treatment techniques:
The surgical method to remove the malignant glioma aims to remove maximum portion (if not complete) of the tumor and is also the initial treatment method considered. In case the glioma is small it is easily removed by surgery without affecting (or damaging) the surrounding healthy brain tissues.
Today, highly-advanced surgical techniques such as robot-assisted brain surgery, awake brain surgery and intra-operative MRI are generally used to perform surgical treatment of malignant glioma.
The radiation therapy (radiotherapy) technique is used mostly as palliative care procedure after a surgery to remove a malignant glioma has been performed. This is especially useful in shrinking the size of advanced (larger-sized) glioma so it can be easier to remove with surgical methods. This technique uses high-energy beams of particles (such as X-ray or proton) to destroy the cancerous cells (tumor).
This is another form of treatment for malignant glioma. This technique involves using medicinal drugs to destroy the cancerous cell’s (tumor’s) ability to grow. This helps to shrink the larger-sized tumors which can then be effectively removed using surgical methods safely.
Why choose Travcure for Malignant Glioma treatment in India?
Travcure is the most popular and in-demand medical tourism service provider in India. It is known for providing the best and most affordable treatments at one the world’s largest networks of comprehensive global-quality healthcare centers in India. These are highly-advanced and modern medical hospitals and clinics that are known for the advanced and modern medical technology they possess. Travcure ensures that every patient gets the best and most affordable malignant glioma treatment in India at the very best hospitals.