The NeuroMedical Center | Patient Education Library | Astrocytomas

Understanding Astrocytomas

Astrocytomas are a type of cancer of the brain. They originate in a brain cell called an “astrocyte.” These cells help give your brain its structure. An astrocytoma can form in your brain, in your brain stem, or in your spinal cord, and can grow slowly or quickly.  Astrocytomas are classified into four grades depending on how fast they are growing and the likelihood that they will spread (infiltrate) to nearby brain tissue.


We don’t know exactly what causes an astrocytoma. It may be linked to DNA passed down from your parents. Researchers suspect that some types of astrocytomas may result from chemicals, such as pesticides, formaldehyde, and solvents that affect the development of a baby’s brain during pregnancy or infancy.   People may be exposed to these chemicals at certain jobs. Astrocytomas are common in men than women, and most often shows up after age 45.

Types of Astrocytomas

Astrocytomas are classified into four grades based on how fast they are growing and the likelihood they will spread to nearby brain tissue.

  • Grade I Astrocytoma (pilocytic astrocytoma/juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma/JPA)- Typically stay in the area where they started and do not spread. They are considered the “most benign” (noncancerous) of all the astrocytomas.
  • Grade II Astrocytoma (low-grade astrocytoma/diffuse astrocytoma)- Tend to invade surrounding tissue and grow at a relatively slow pace. 
  • Grade III Astrocytoma (anaplastic/malignant astrocytoma)- Requires more aggressive treatment than a grade II astrocytoma.
  • Grade IV Astrocytoma (glioblastoma or GBM)- The most aggressive type of nervous system tumor. 


A growing astrocytoma can press against your brain. It can change the way your brain works. You may have headaches and seizures. You may lose your memory, and you may act differently. You may have other problems, depending on the size and location of your tumor.

Early symptoms can include:

  • Headaches
  • Blurry Vision
  • Seizures
  • Memory Loss
  • Nausea & Vomiting
  • Changes in Behavior

Expert Evaluation & Treatment for Astrocytomas in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

There are several types of astrocytomas, and treatment will depend on your tumor and your needs. You may benefit from surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or other options. The NeuroMedical Center offers a team of brain tumor specialists, including Baton Rouge’s ONLY board certified, fellowship-trained Neurologist/Neuro-Oncologist, Dr. Jon D. Olson, who possesses advanced knowledge and training to best evaluate, treat, and rehabilitate astrocytomas and all other types of brain tumors.  

Ensure that you receive the very best treatment for your specific neurological condition by choosing The NeuroMedical Center.  Schedule an appointment by calling us today (225) 768-2050 or by requesting an appointment online.