Treating anaplastic astrocytomas
As these grade 3 astrocytomas are faster growing and more aggressive, the usual course of treatment is surgery followed by radiotherapy and sometimes chemotherapy.
This page is about treating grade 3 astrocytomas. We also have information on:
- treating grade 1 astrocytomas
- treating grade 2 astrocytomas
- treating grade 4 astrocytomas (glioblastomas)
If you are relatively fit, a long course of radiotherapy over several weeks may by suggested. If not, a shorter course may be more suitable. Radiotherapy is very rarely used in children under three years old.
Where chemotherapy is suggested, chemotherapy drugs are sometimes put inside a polymer wafer and inserted into the brain during surgery. The polymer gradually dissolves over 2-3 weeks, releasing the chemotherapy drug (usually carmustine) directly into the brain. Wafers are used to target cells which couldn’t be removed by surgery. You may also hear these implants referred to as Gliadel® wafers.
Your oncologist may also recommend a drug called temozolomide (Temadol®). Both carmustine and temozolomide stop the tumour cells copying their DNA (genes), which needs to happen before the cells can divide. This in turn stops the tumour cells dividing.
Our fact sheet gives you an overview of astrocytomas in adults, how they are treated and answers some of the questions you may have about this type of tumour.
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Three years ago, Alfie had a grade 1 pilocytic astrocytoma completely removed. Now he shares his experiences with fatigue and how he manages day to day.
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