What is the Primary Spinal Astrocytoma?
Primary Spinal Astrocytoma is a rare subtype of spinal cord tumour that arises from abnormal growth of glial cells that support and provide nutrition to the nerve cells originating from the brain and spinal cord. These are low-grade tumours and account for 6-8% of all spinal cord tumours. Low-grade tumours are those that grow slowly and usually do not spread to other distant parts of the body. However, astrocytoma of the spinal cord tends to invade deeper tissues from its origin. It usually affects children and adults. It commonly develops in the 3rd decade of life with the mean age for the development of the disease being 30 years. Primary astrocytoma of the spinal cord more commonly affects males compared to females with the M: F being 3:2. It more frequently develops in the chest and neck region of the spinal cord.
There is no well-known cause, but an increased association has been found between the presence of conditions such as neurofibromatosis type 1 and the development of a primary spinal cord astrocytoma.
Signs and Symptoms
The patient may suffer from the following signs and symptoms. These are
- Pain in the back
- Altered states of consciousness
- Weakness in one or both sides of the body
- Numbness in arms and legs
- Difficulty in walking and writing, loss of voluntary control of muscles
The following diagnostic tests and procedures can be used to make a diagnosis. These are;
- Imaging techniques like Chest X-ray, CT-scan, MRI, and PET scan to see the site, size, and extent of the tumour.
- Tumour biopsy (tumour biopsy to remove a small sample of tissue for histopathological examination)
- USG-guided fine needle aspiration cytology
Surgical resection (surgical removal of the damaged part of the body) of the tumour is the main treatment; other treatment options are chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
What Support can we Give for Primary Spinal Astrocytoma?
Primary Spinal Astrocytoma is rare cancer, meaning it is not as well known as other forms of cancer. Without a Ribbon is an Australian organisation that provides support for individuals who suffer from rare cancers. So, we provide a designated platform for Warriors to obtain information specific to their Rare Cancer. We also offer annual opportunities for our Warriors to meet and learn from each other. If you suffer from rare cancer such as Primary Spinal Astrocytoma, we can help and support you through your journey thanks to the generous donations we receive. Click the link below to sign up and become a Warrior today!
You can help us with your donation:
Without a Ribbon is a charity that works hard to aid those who suffer from rare cancers. You can help our cause in a variety of ways: