An Astrocytoma is a tumour within the brain or surrounding part of the brain. Astrocytomas develop in glial-cells, which are star shaped cells within the brain known as astrocytes.
The World Health Organisation recognises 4 main grades of astrocytomas:
1. Grade I – Astrocytoma slow growing astrocytoma, with good long term survival prognosis;
2. Grade II Astrocytoma – low grade, and relatively benign.
3. Grade III Astrocytoma – anaplastic astrocytoma, which is often related to chronic seizures.
4. Grade IV Astrocytoma – glioblastoma multiform , which is a fast growing, most common malignant astrocytoma.
Unfortunately, the most common astrocytoma to be diagnosed with is a Grade IV malignant astrocytoma, although brain metastesies still have a much higher incidence than astrocytomas.