Skip to main content

< Back to Brain Tumors

Glioma

Advances in Tumor Care

New Hope for Glioma Treatment

With a glioma tumor come many questions, concerns and fears. Our team is here for you every step of the way, explaining your diagnosis, answering your questions, preparing you for treatment and supporting you throughout this journey. 

We offer some of the latest advances in diagnosing and treating gliomas — and we’re ready to build a brighter, better and healthier future for you and your family.

Take the First Step

Learn More About Your Glioma Diagnosis

Understanding your glioma diagnosis, symptoms and treatment options can empower you and your loved ones on your journey to whole health.  

What Is a Glioma?

Glioma tumors begin in the glial cells, which are gluey cells that surround nerves and help them work properly. There are many different glioma tumors, grouped by the glial cells where the tumor first developed. Your doctor will explain where your glioma tumor began, and how that impacts your symptoms, treatment options and prognosis.

Glioma tumors include:

  • Astrocytomas: These tumors — including astrocytoma, anaplastic astrocytoma and glioblastoma — originate in brain cells called astrocytes. Because they spread throughout the brain, they usually cannot be cured.
  • Ependymomas: Ependymomas are glioma tumors that start in the ependymomas cells, and include anaplastic ependymoma, myxopapillary ependymoma and subependymoma. Since they don’t usually spread through normal brain tissue, these tumors can sometimes be cured with surgery.  
  • Oligodendrogliomas: While these tumors — which include oligodendroglioma, anaplastic oligodendroglioma and anaplastic oligoastrocytoma — are slow-growing, they do tend to spread into normal brain tissue. Depending on the progression of your condition, oligodendrogliomas can sometimes be cured.

What Are the Symptoms of a Glioma Tumor?

Glioma symptoms can vary among different people, based on type, size, growth rate and location of the tumor. The most common glioma symptoms are:

  • Balance problems
  • Cognitive decline
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Memory loss
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Personality changes
  • Speech difficulties
  • Seizures
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Vision problems

How Is a Glioma Tumor Diagnosed?

If you’re experiencing glioma tumor symptoms, talk to your doctor. Your primary care physician will likely ask you questions and conduct an initial exam to get a clearer picture of your symptoms. 

You may then be referred to a neurosurgeon for additional tests and procedures. 

Neurological Exam

A neurological exam can help your doctors further evaluate a suspected tumor or other neurological condition. During a neurological exam, your doctor will assess your:

  • Balance
  • Coordination
  • Growth and development (in pediatric patients)
  • Hearing
  • Reflexes
  • Vision

Imaging Tests

An imaging test can confirm the presence, size and location of a tumor in the brain. Your doctor may order X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scans to make an accurate glioma diagnosis.

If it’s suspected that cancer has spread to other areas of the body, a positron emission tomography (PET) scan will also be ordered. 

Biopsy

A biopsy of a tumor will help your doctor better understand its type, size and grade. During a biopsy of a glioma tumor, your surgeon will drill a very small hole in your skull and insert a thin, hollow needle. This needle collects a small sample of cells in and around the tumor, which is sent to a laboratory for pathologists to review. The findings from the biopsy will help tailor a glioma treatment plan based on your unique needs. 

How Is a Glioma Tumor Treated?

Glioma tumor treatment can vary widely depending on the tumor’s size, location and type. Your doctor will discuss which of the following options are best for you. 

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy delivers tumor-killing medicine to the tumor site. It can be directly injected into the tumor so that treatment doesn’t damage healthy tissue.

Learn more about chemotherapy.

Clinical Trials

Advances are being made every day in detecting, diagnosing and treating cancer, including glioma tumors. Talk to your neurosurgeon and oncologist to find out if you qualify for any current clinical trials.

Learn more about clinical trials.

Gamma Knife® Radiosurgery

Gamma Knife is an innovative, no-incision procedure to target brain tumors. It helps protect healthy tissue around tumors while destroying tumors. 

Learn more about Gamma Knife. 

Radiation Therapy

External beam radiation uses powerful X-ray and proton beams to kill tumor cells. Proton beam therapy and intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) can deliver targeted radiation.

Learn more about radiation.

Surgery

Your surgeon will likely recommend removing as much of the glioma tumor as possible for the first step of treatment. This can help reduce your symptoms and improve your outlook. There are several types of brain surgery that can remove all or part of a glioma tumor, including: 

  • Awake brain surgery
  • Computer-assisted brain surgery
  • Intraoperative MRI
  • Laser surgery

Learn more about surgery options available at AdventHealth Neuroscience Institute.

Target Therapy

Certain drugs are tailored to attack specific abnormalities in glioma tumors and cancer cells. Bevacizumab (Avastin) is one type of drug given to target glioblastoma. 

Caring For Glioma Tumors

Specialized Treatments. Close to Home.

When you’re facing a brain tumor diagnosis, you want an experienced, compassionate team by your side. That’s what you’ll find at AdventHealth Neuroscience Institute. Our entire team is dedicated to healing your body, mind and spirit.

Meet your care coordinator