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What are Mixed Gliomas (mixed glee-oh-mas)?

Usually brain tumors are named for the cells in which they initially develop. Glial cells are the cells that surround and support the brain's nerve cells. When a tumor develops here, it is known as glioma. There are several types of mixed gliomas, including astrocytomasependymomas and oligodendrobliomas. A mixed glioma contains one or more of these cell types in the same tumor. As such, a tumor may be referred to as an oligoastrocytoma, since the tumor has the characteristics of both types of cells. For more information about mixed gliomas, or to schedule an appointment, call (407) 303-1700 or click here to fill out an online assistance form.

Forming in the cerebrum, the most common types of mixed gliomas are:

  • Oligoastrocytoma (oh-lee-go-as-tro-sy-toe-mah): This is a slow growing tumor that typically affects adults their 30s-50s. The most common symptoms are seizures, headaches and personality changes.
  • Anaplastic oligastrocytoma: This is a fast growing tumor and can rapidly spread. Because of it's "wild" nature, anaplastic oligostrocytomas often recur.

Specialists at the Florida Hospital Brain and Spinal Cancer Program use the latest diagnostics to determine the type and grade of the tumor. After reviewing your test results, general health and size and location of your tumor, the doctors at the Florida Hospital Brain and Spinal Cancer Program will assemble a comprehensive and coordinated care plan that may include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. You may also be asked to participate in clinical trials to study innovative new approaches to managing mixed glioma tumors.

Causes of Mixed Gliomas

Currently, the cause of mixed gliomas is unknown, but scientists are working to find more evidence as to why these tumors are created.

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Symptoms of Mixed Gliomas

Signs and symptoms of mixed gliomas are caused by pressure exerted on the brain or spinal cord. Some gliomas may not present any symptoms at all. The most common symptoms of mixed gliomas are:

  • headache
  • seizures
  • mood disturbances
  • changes in vision
  • nausea or vomiting
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Tests to Diagnose Mixed Gliomas

Our physicians at Florida Hospital Cancer Institute will need to find out as much as they can about the tumor in order to offer a correct diagnosis and treatment plan. This includes knowing the type, position and size. A variety of tests may be recommended, starting with your reflexes and the power and feeling in your arms and legs. Your physician may also check to see if your optic nerve is swollen, which can indicate a rise in pressure in the brain. Blood tests may also be taken in order to assess your general health and to see how well your kidneys are functioning. 

The following tests may be ordered to diagnose mixed gliomas:

CT (computerized tomography) scan
A CT scan takes a series of x-rays that allows the physician to see a three-dimensional picture of the inside of your body. The CT scan is painless and lasts for only a few minutes. Using a small amount of radiation, the scan will be harmless to you and to those around you. An injection of dye is given in order to let the physician see certain areas more clearly. The injection may make you feel warm or hot all over for a few seconds. Be sure to tell your doctor if you have an allergy to iodine or if you have asthma, as this could lead to a more serious reaction. 

MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging) scan
An MRI is similar to a CT scan but uses magnetism instead of x-rays to build up a detailed picture of the areas in your body. Before the scan you may be asked to remove any metal belongings, as well as jewelry. An injection of dye may be given into a vein in your arm, helping the images to show up more clearly. During the scan you will lie on a table inside a long cylinder for approximately 30 minutes. The scan is painless but may be slightly uncomfortable. The MRI technician will help make you as comfortable as possible and will give you earplugs or headphones to reduce the noise from the machine. 

Biopsy
Your physician will remove a small amount of tissue from the tumor in order to give a correct diagnosis. In most cases this involves an operation. One of our skilled neurosurgeons will make a very small hole in the skull and pass a fine needle into the tumor in order to remove a small sample. A CT scan will be performed at the same time in order to help guide the surgeon. Your physician will tell you whether or not a biopsy is necessary in your case and what the operation will involve. 

To learn more about tests to diagnose mixed gliomas, or to schedule an appointment, please call (407) 303-1700 or click here to fill out an online assistance form.

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Treatments for Mixed Gliomas

Treatment for mixed gliomas will vary depending on the specific case. As always, if you need more time to consider your options, you can always take more time. All patients are free to choose not to have treatment and our staff will explain what may happen if you decide to not have it. The following treatment options may be recommended for mixed gliomas.

Surgery
Radiotherapy
Chemotherapy
Steroids

To learn more about treatment for mixed gliomas, or to schedule an appointment, please call (407) 303-1700 or click here to fill out an online assistance form.

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