An astrocytoma can occur anywhere in the brain or spinal cord. These tumors develop from connective tissue cells called astrocytes.
Astrocytomas are the most common type of tumor for children and adults.
Astrocytomas are generally subdivided into high-grade, medium-grade or low-grade tumors. High-grade astrocytomas are the most malignant of all brain tumors.
Astrocytomas are further classified for presenting signs, symptoms, treatment, and prognosis, based on their location. In adults, astrocytomas are more common in the cerebral hemispheres (cerebrum), where they commonly cause increased intracranial pressure (ICP), seizures or changes in behavior.
Symptoms may also include:
- Visual changes
- Personality changes
- Problems with memory, thinking and concentration
- Problems with walking
Symptoms will vary depending on the location of the tumor. For example:
- Frontal lobe — Gradual changes in mood and personality, loss of muscle function on one side of the body
- Temporal lobe — Problems with coordination, speech and memory
- Parietal lobe — Problems with sensation, writing, or fine motor skills
- Cerebellum — Problems with coordination and balance
- Occipital lobe — Problems with vision, visual hallucinations
Content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library. Edits to original content made by Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice.