Oligodendroglioma is a glioma that develops from oliogodendrocytes, which are the supportive brain tissue cells, usually found in the cerebrum. About 4% of primary brain tumors are oliogodendrogliomas. They are most common in young and middle-aged adults. Seizures are a common symptom and so are headaches, weakness, behavior changes or sleepiness. They have a better prognosis than most other gliomas, but can get more malignant with time. Glioma is a common type of primary brain tumour originating in the brain’s glial cells, which support the neurons. (For more on Gliomas click here)
If you have symptoms of a brain tumor, your doctor will first ask questions about these symptoms. Next, the doctor will get your complete medical history and give you a physical exam. In addition to checking your overall health, the doctor will do a neurological exam to observe the way you walk, talk, and move.
The doctor may examine your eyes to look for any swelling caused by pressure on your optic nerve. The optic nerve connects the eyes to the brain. This swelling is called papilledema. It is a sign that requires immediate medical attention.
Diagnosis of glioma involves a physical exam which includes questions about the patient’s symptoms, personal and family health history and a neurological exam designed to examine the patient’s vision, hearing, balance, coordination, reflexes, and the ability to think and remember. This is accompanied by brain scans and biopsy.
Craniotomy: To put it in simple terms, it is an open skull surgery and is the first line of treatment adopted if the GBM has significantly affected the patient’s daily functioning. Even partial removal of the tumour can offer relief from symptoms and significantly improves the quality of life.
MRI computer-assisted brain surgery: In computer-assisted brain surgery, neurosurgeons use imaging technologies, such as MR (magnetic resonance), CT (computerized tomography) and PET (positron emission tomography) scans, to create a 3-D model of the brain, which allows them to plan the safest way to treat a condition. During surgery, the computer system precisely guides them to the area(s) of your brain requiring treatment.
Radiation therapy: The term refers to external beam radiation therapy during which high-energy beams from a machine aim at a precise point on your body to kill the cancerous cells by destroying the genetic material that controls how cells grow and divide. Though more intense than chemotherapy, radiation is preferred as it destroys fewer normal, healthy cells than the former. It also delays growth of cancerous cells.
Awake Brain Surgery (Intraoperative Brain Mapping): Neurosurgeons at BRAINS perform many brain tumor procedures while the patient is awake but sedated. This procedure is called intraoperative brain mapping or awake brain surgery. It enables the neurosurgeons to remove tumors that would otherwise be inoperable. Neurosurgeons perform awake brain surgery for tumors that have spread throughout the brain and do not have clear borders, such as some types of glioma. Awake brain surgery can shrink these tumors.
Stereotactic Radiosurgery: This is a type of radiation therapy that uses narrow beams of radiation coming from different angles to very precisely deliver radiation to a brain tumor while sparing the surrounding normal tissue. Also called stereotactic radiotherapy, stereotactic radiosurgery delivers a higher, more targeted dose of radiation than external beam radiation therapy. A special device keeps the patient’s head still so that the radiation is accurately aimed at the tumor. Treatment time averages one to two hours. Stereotactic radiosurgery is painless.
External Beam Radiation Therapy: External beam radiation therapy delivers radiation from outside the body, using a machine called a linear accelerator. The most common type of radiation therapy for brain tumors, it can be directed to the tumor and nearby brain tissue or to the whole brain. External beam radiation therapy is also called traditional radiation therapy.Whole-brain radiation is sometimes used to treat metastatic brain tumors. It is used to treat multiple metastatic brain tumors throughout the brain, including tumors that are too small to be seen on a scan.
Chemotherapy: When chemotherapy is part of a treatment plan, doctors at BRAINS usually administer it after surgery. Sometimes, it is administered at the same time as radiation therapy. The delivery method and the length of the treatment depends on the type of tumor and where it is located. There are two primary types of chemotherapy drugs:
Drugs that kill cancer cells (cytotoxic drugs): These drugs usually reach cells (cancerous and normal) throughout the body. Called systemic chemotherapy, this is the most common type of chemotherapy.
Drugs that prevent the cells from reproducing (cytostatic drugs): These drugs, better known as targeted therapy, are a newer type of chemotherapy. They identify and attack cancer cells (the target) with minimal harm to normal cells. They prevent the growth and spread of cancer cells. Targeted therapies are used more often to treat brain tumors than systemic chemotherapy. They may be used to treat metastatic brain tumors and recurrent brain tumors.
BRAINS is equipped with the latest in diagnostic and treatment technologies and procedures to detect and deal with gliomas. Among them are MRI, CT and PET scanners, stereotactic surgery, computer assisted surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. MRI is a diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radio-frequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body while CT scanners use a combination of X-rays and computer technology to produce horizontal, or axial, images (often called slices) of the body. For treatment, BRAINS employ the entire range of the latest technology driven surgical and medical procedures including awake-brain and computer-aided surgery, stereotactic radiosurgery and targeted drug delivery.