Type of disease: Rare conditions
Anaplastic oligodendroglioma is a rare form of brain cancer caused by tumors from oligodendrocytes. Oligodendrocytes is a type of cell that make up the supportive tissue (glial tissue) of the brain. Brain tumors are characterized by “grade” (grade I-IV) which is based on how normal or abnormal the tumor cells appear as well as how fast the tumor is growing. Anaplastic oligodendroglioma is a grade III tumor which means it is more likely to grow and spread quickly than a lower grade of tumor. Symptoms may include seizures, headaches, and personality changes. Other symptoms may vary depending on the location and size of the tumors including short-term memory loss, visual loss, motor weakness, and language problems. Because of the slow growth of these tumors, oligodendrogliomas may be present much earlier than it is diagnosed. Most cases of oligodendrolgliomas occur in adults ages 50-60 and is more common in males than females. Oligodendroglioma’s are rare and only account for about 4% of all primary brain tumors. The exact cause is currently unknown however genetic changes may contribute to the development of these tumors. The main treatment for this type of cancer is a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Surgery may be required if the tumor is returns. Diagnoses may be done through a CT or MRI scan, however the main confirmation of the tumor is best done with a biopsy, in which the doctor removes a part or all of the tumor for examination. If you or a family member has been diagnosed with an anaplastic oligodendroglioma, talk with your doctors and specialists to learn about the most current treatment options available. Support groups are also a good source of information and may help you connect with others also affected by anaplastic oligodendrogliomas.