Glioma brain tumours
Find out more about gliomas or a type of primary brain tumours
Glioma brain tumours key points
- Gliomas are primary brain tumours, meaning they originate in the brain and have not spread from another body part
- There are 4 grades of gliomas
- Symptoms are headaches, stroke-like symptoms and seizures
- Brain surgery is one of the treatment options
Gliomas | Brain tumour surgery Brisbane
What is it?
Gliomas are primary brain tumours. These are very different from metastatic (also called secondary) brain tumours.
Primary brain tumours originate in the brain itself. Secondary brain tumours originate outside the body, like in the lung, breast or bowel, and then spread to a secondary site in the brain.
There are only two types of cells in the brain. The first is called the neuron which transmits electricity and is responsible for all the brain activity including movement, thinking, speaking, seeing etc.
The other is the glial cells. Glial cells are like little scaffolding, or the bubble wrap that keeps all the neurons in place and physically supported.
Tumours of the neurons are very rare. Tumours of the glial cells on the other hand are much more common. They are collectively called gliomas. In fact gliomas make up 2 of the top 4 most common brain tumours in adults.
Glioma tumour symptoms
What are the symptoms?
All gliomas are serious and require prompt review by a specialist. If you have been diagnosed with a tumour then contact my team here and I will take you through everything.
There is nothing that you could have done to either cause or prevent it. The best we know at this stage is that it is purely bad luck. Fortunately however, with modern neurosurgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiosurgery the situation for patients has been very much improved.
Whilst gliomas are caused by random genetic mutations it is not the sort of genetic mutation that is inheritable. You did not get it from your parents and you cannot pass it onto your children.
Gliomas only affect the brain. While they can affect other parts of the brain, they do not spread to other parts of the body.
Glioma brain tumour surgery Brisbane
How is it treated?
Do I need surgery when I have a glioma?
There are 3 reasons that surgery is required.
- To get a diagnosis.
It is as good as impossible to know 100% what type of cancer something is just by looking at the scans. Sometimes it is necessary to do brain surgery to get samples of abnormal tissue. We then send these samples to the lab where they can do a series of tests to get the answer once and for all.
- To relieve symptoms of pressure.
By reducing the size of the tumour it is possible to significantly improve your symptoms like headache. If the tumour is causing stroke-like symptoms then it may also be possible to improve this by removing as much of the tumour as it is safe to do so. So this is all about improving your quality of life.
This means we try to improve the overall length of life. Sometimes, by removing most or all of the tumour your overall prognosis gets a little bit better. Furthermore, by removing it it will make the effects of chemotherapy or radiotherapy more positive.
You will notice I’ve said “remove most of the tumour.” You may wonder why the whole tumour isn’t always removed? Well, in the brain it’s not always possible to do that. In the lung, the bowel or the skin for example, this can be done. But in the brain you can’t because it may risk vital parts of the brain that are next to, or surrounding the tumour.
Does the treatment work?
Is this treatment safe?
Brain surgeon Brisbane
What should I do now?
Ready to make an appointment?
Ramsay Specialist Centre
Greenslopes QLD 4120
(07) 3397 4185