Gliomas are a type of tumour in Singapore that may grow in the brain or spinal cord. More often than not, gliomas are cancerous and require prompt and effective medical intervention. Gliomas are usually classified as:
Gliomas can affect patients of any age. Gliomas are perilous as they can spread (metastasise) to other parts of the brain and other organs such as the lungs and liver. The spread to other organs is also known as distant metastasis. This brain tumour is also devastating as one can observe an apparent decline in cognitive and physical function in affected patients.
Glioma growth is a result of mutations in glial cells. Glial cells are pertinent in aiding in the communication and information processing of synapses and the signalling capabilities of neurons. Some types of gliomas include:
The exact cause of gliomas remains unclear. The mechanism of how gliomas are formed is attributed to genetic mutations. When said mutation occurs, the rapid growth of glial cells materialises, subsequently turning into tumours.
Symptoms of glioma growth in the brain vary. The variations depend upon the type of glioma, the size of the tumour, the growth rate, and the growth location. However, some general signs may serve as warning signs of gliomas present in the brain:
The changes that occur in an individual with gliomas can cause emotional distress to themselves and the people around them. Empathy and patience are important aspects of dealing with the condition to preserve the patient’s psychological health.
The pain from gliomas manifests in the form of headaches. Particularly ones that worsen in the morning, when shifting positions, coughing, and exercising. The pain is described as persistent dull aches versus a throbbing pain one may feel when dealing with regular headaches. The pain is often caused by increased brain pressure from the tumour's growth. Patients have also reported relief from pain upon vomiting.
While the cause of gliomas remains uncertain, certain risk factors may predispose one to gliomas. These include:
Efforts to diagnose gliomas are rather extensive and will require some sequential steps such as:
Depending on the glioma's size, type, and location, the treatment approach may vary. Generally, treatment may involve:
The life expectancy ranges depending on the type of glioma, location, malignancy, and the stage of progression. Where low-grade gliomas are concerned, the life expectancy goes up to 7 years upon diagnosis. Patients with low-grade gliomas generally have a better survival rate than those with high-grade gliomas.
In the case of glioblastomas (grade IV astrocytomas), the survival rate for adults is 14.6 months upon diagnosis. There are even cases of patients living up to 25 years. Patients and their loved ones need to see past the possibilities of recovery beyond the statistics. Today, more efficient treatments are available, interventions are introduced at earlier stages, and the management of gliomas (rehabilitation, diets, etc.) is more comprehensive.
Below is a table with the estimated 5-year rate of survival:
The statement “glioma cancer” indicates that the glioma has progressed to grades 3 and 4 and is subsequently diagnosed as brain cancer. Whilst curing a cancer patient is not scientifically viable (there is yet to be a singular cure for cancer) promise, there are treatments that could eventually treat you.