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Oligodendroglioma is a tumor that can form in the brain or spinal cord. Oligodendroglioma consists of oligodendrocytes in the brain and spinal cord that produce a substance that protects nerve cells.

Oligodendroglioma can occur at any age, but most often affects adults. Signs and symptoms may include seizures and headaches. Weakness or disability may occur in the part of the body that is controlled by the nerve cells affected by the tumor.

Oligodendroglioma treatment usually includes surgery to remove the tumor. Additional treatments may be necessary if the tumor is aggressive or more likely to recur.


Tests and procedures used to diagnose oligodendroglioma include:

Neurological examination. During the neurological examination, your doctor will ask you about your signs and symptoms. It can check your vision, hearing, balance, coordination, strength and reflexes. Problems in one or more of these areas can provide clues about the part of your brain that may be affected by a brain tumor.

Imaging tests. Imaging tests can help your doctor determine the location and size of your brain tumor. MRI is often used to diagnose brain tumors and can be used in conjunction with functional MRI and specialized MRI imaging such as magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

Other imaging tests may include CT and positron emission tomography (PET).

Removing a sample of tissue for testing (biopsy). Depending on your particular situation and the location of your tumor, a needle biopsy may be done before or during surgery to remove your oligodendroglioma. Suspicious tissue sample is analyzed in a laboratory to determine cell types and aggression levels.

Special tests of tumor cells can tell your doctor the types of mutations the cells have acquired. This gives your doctor clues about your prognosis and can guide your treatment options.


Oligodendroglioma treatment options include:

Surgery to remove the tumor. Your neurosurgeon (neurosurgeon) will work to remove as much of the oligodendroglioma as possible without affecting healthy brain tissue. Special surgical techniques, such as awake brain surgery, can help ensure that sensitive brain tissue is not damaged during surgery.

Additional treatments may be recommended if any tumor cells remain after surgery or if your tumor has an increased risk of recurrence.

Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy drugs can be taken in pill form or through a vein in your arm.

Chemotherapy is often used after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells. It can be combined with radiation therapy for aggressive cancers. For people who cannot have surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy may be used as primary treatment.

Radiation therapy. Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays such as X-rays or protons to kill cancer cells. During radiation therapy, you lie on a table while a machine moves around you directing the rays to precise spots in your brain.

Radiation therapy is sometimes recommended after surgery and can be combined with chemotherapy.

Supportive (palliative) care. Palliative care is specialized medical care that focuses on relieving the pain and other symptoms of a serious illness. Palliative care professionals work with you, your family, and other doctors to provide an extra layer of support that complements your ongoing care. It can be used during other aggressive treatments such as palliative care, surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy.



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