Pilocytic astrocytomas are also called grade 1 astrocytoma. They are benign, non-infiltrating tumors, meaning they do not spread into surrounding tissue. They are often found in the optic nerve, cerebrum or cerebellum and grow slowly but, if left untreated, can become very large.
Astrocytomas are classified in one of four grade categories, with grade 1 being the least aggressive and grade 4 the most aggressive. Pilocytic astrocytoma tumors often form cysts or are encased in cysts and are far more common in children than adults. They are, in fact, the most common tumor type found in children under the age of 20.
General symptoms include:
- Weakness on one side of the body
- Problems with balance
- Behavior, memory and personality changes
Pilocytic Astrocytoma Treatment
Because pilocytic astrocytoma tumors do not spread to surrouding cells, surgery can often remove all or most of the tumor. Radiation therapy is an option if surgery does not remove the entire tumor.
- Learn more about UW Carbone Cancer Center radiation therapy options
- Before, During and After Radiation Therapy
Following initial treatment physicians will use follow-up magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) screens staggered at consistent intervals to watch for recurrence.
Information compiled based on research culled from the American Brain Tumor Association Web site.