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What Is an Oligodendroglioma?

July 16, 2011 | Comments: 0 | Views: 181

At the age of 6, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. It is most commonly found in adults, so perhaps that means I am mature, but likely it only indicates a lack of fortune.

Oligodendroglioma is a type of tumor that is thought to originate the oligodendrocytes in the brain. Most of the time oligodendrogliomas occur in adults; only four percent of them occur in children. On average, patients diagnosed with them are about 35 years old.

Oligodendrogliomas originate from an unknown source at this time. Some studies have shown a link to a viral cause while others have found a genetic cause. More than likely, both are causes.

There is no way to tell if a tumor is an oligodendroglioma aside from taking a biopsy. They often take a shape similar to a fried egg and sort of wrap around healthy cells. This can lead to headaches, dizziness, and seizures. Since oligodendrogliomas can occur anywhere in the brain, they can ultimately have a number of different symptoms associated with them. For instance, visual loss, motor problems, and even cognitive difficulties can result depending on the location of the tumor.

Many experts believe that oligodendrogliomas are ultimately incurable. They tend to be slow growing and are difficult to remove completely and so recurrence is almost certain. Depending on the "grade" of the tumor, victims typically live anywhere from 3-12 years (although I have made it almost 30). Of course this range is only semi-accurate as severity of the tumor, type of treatment, general health at the time of diagnosis, etc., all have a significant impact on the survival rate of oligodendrogliomas and any type of cancer for that matter.

There are a number of different approaches to dealing with oligodendrogliomas including:

1. Surgery- obviously one way to remove any tumor is to surgically excise it. This may be a particularly important approach when the tumor is directly affecting particular brain structures.

2. Radiation therapy- this may be done in addition to surgery or as a standalone treatment to destroy the tumor cells. However, it can also damage healthy tissue.

3. Chemotherapy- this is a natural approach to any tumor because it can be effective at killing off tumor cells, but it often also brings harsh side effects.

4. Stereotactic Surgery- this is a relatively recent approach that allows doctors to "target" cells three dimensionally and essentially "shoot" them with radiation. That way only the bad cells are affected, unlike with radiation.

Oligodendrogliomas are terrible things to have and I regret to admit that I can personally attest to that fact.

I have additionally written my experiences on my blog at

Source: EzineArticles
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