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What is oligodendroglioma?

Oligodendrogliomas are the third most common glioma, accounting for 2-5% of all primary brain tumours and 5-18% of all gliomas. They are more common in adults, particularly in people aged 40-60.

Oligodendrogliomas are primary brain tumours which means they have originated in the brain instead of spreading from elsewhere. 

What are the types of oligodendroglioma?

Oligodendrogliomas are divided into two grades:

  • Grade two (low grade) oligodendrogliomas, which are very slow growing
  • Grade three (high grade) anaplastic oligodendrogliomas, which are a faster growing and malignant.

The majority of oligodendrogliomas occur in the frontal lobe, and the second most common site affected is the temporal lobe.

What are the symptoms of oligodendroglioma?

A person with an oligodendroglioma may display one or more of these symptoms:

  • seizures
  • headaches that aren't improved by pain killers and are worse in mornings
  • changes to mood or cognitive skills
  • vertigo or nausea
  • altered vision or visual hallucinations
  • muscular weakness (particularly down one side of the body) and loss of control of bodily movements
  • noticing strange smells that nobody else can smell

Sometimes the symptoms experienced depend on where the brain tumours are located. If they are in the frontal lobe this may cause gradual changes in mood and personality, weakness or numbness in muscles of one side of the body.

If it's located in the temporal lobe, this may cause problems with speech and coordination or it may affect memory.

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