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Health Facts for You

Brain Tumors in Adults

The UW Health Brain Tumor Center in Madison, Wisconsin provides comprehensive treatment for patients with brain tumors. Working in concert with the UW Carbone Cancer Center, our multidisciplinary team sees more than 1,200 brain tumor patients annually with common as well as rare brain cancers.


What are astrocytoma tumors?


Astrocytomas are gliomas, tumors that develop from glial cells (called astrocytes) that support the brain tissue.


Astrocytomas are classified in one of four grade categories, with grade 1 being the least aggressive and grade 4 the most aggressive.


Types of Astrocytoma Tumors

  • Pilocytic Astrocytoma (Grade 1): A slow-growing tumor most often found in the cerebum, cerebellum and optic nerve. Learn more
  • Low-grade Astrocytoma (Grade 2): A slow-growing tumor with undefined borders that infrequently spreads to other areas of the central nervous system. Learn more
  • Anaplastic Astrocytoma (Grade 3): More aggressive than grade 1 and grade 2 tumors, these tumors are not uniform in shape and often invade surrounding tissue. Learn more
  • Glioblastoma Multiforme (Grade 4): The most malignant type of tumor that originates in the brain's supportive tissue. Learn more



General symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Weakness on one side of the body
  • Problems with balance
  • Seizures
  • Behavior, memory and personality changes

Astrocytoma Treatment


Tumor location and size determine the course of treatment. Standard treatment include surgery and radiation therapy. If surgery is ruled out, radiation and/or chemotherapy may be used to contain the tumor.