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What are oligodendrogliomas?

Oligodendrogliomas are a type of glioma that originate from the oligodendrocytes, the type of cells that make up the supportive, or glial, the tissue of the brain. They can be low-grade or high-grade; Low-grade tumors develop slowly and high-grade tumors grow more quickly. These tumors can be found anywhere within the cerebral hemisphere of the brain, although the frontal and temporal lobes are the most common locations.


What are the symptoms of oligodendrogliomas?

Symptoms of oligodendrogliomas include:

  • Headaches
  • Feeling or being sick
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Weakness in arms or legs
  • Problems with Coordination and balance
  • Problems with sight


How are oligodendrogliomas diagnosed?

Usually, oligodendrogliomas are diagnosed because of symptoms a person is having. The following tests may also be done to diagnose oligodendrogliomas:

  • A neurological exam where your physician will ask about your symptoms and may do a neurological exam to look for changes in motor and sensory function, vision, coordination, balance, and mental status.
  • Imaging; your physician may diagnose an oligodendroglioma using an MRI or CT scan to get a picture of the brain and nearby areas.
  • Biopsy; your physician may want to remove a sample of the tumor to examine it under a microscope before making the diagnosis.


How are oligodendrogliomas treated?

Treatment depends on the whether tumor is low-grade or high-grade, its position, and your overall health. Your physician will talk to you about the best treatment for you and explain the benefits and disadvantages. The main treatments include:

  • Surgery; this option is used for removing as much as the tumor as possible without damaging normal brain tissue
  • Radiation; this is used for killing off tumor cells and limiting the growth of the tumor
  • Chemotherapy; this involves the use of medications that stop the growth of the tumor and can be given orally or through an IV.