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Astrocytes, the progenitors of all astrocytoma types, are normally present in all parts of the brain and spinal cord, as astroglia maintains vital functions of the nervous tissue. Depending on the localization and grade of the tumor, it can be slow-growing or aggressive. These determine prognosis and preferable treatment options. German hospitals offer precise histological diagnostic with stereotactic biopsy along with the full range of the approved and experimental treatment options.
How Does Astrocytoma Reveal Itself?
Alike most volumetric formations inside the skull, astrocytoma cause clinical manifestations via three pathogenetic mechanisms. The first one is direct damage to the cerebral tissue. The second one is the increased intracranial pressure. The third one is hampering the cerebrospinal fluid flow.
Thus, symptoms of brain astrocytoma include:
- Headache that is resistant to the painkillers intake.
- Nausea with or without vomiting.
- Seizures that have a poor response to the anticonvulsants intake.
- Vision disturbances (blurred or double vision).
- Unexplainable changes in personality or mood.
- Arising gradually speech difficulties.
- Hampered thinking and learning new information, memory loss.
Such complaints should prompt consultation with a general practitioner, neurologist or neurosurgeon. You will need to tell a doctor about the time and order of the complaints arising, family history, concomitant conditions, medications intake, etc.
Why Precise Diagnosis Is That Important?
Treatment in Germany is planned only after the reliable diagnosis confirmation, as astrocytoma symptoms may also be typical for other brain neoplasms or non-cancerous conditions. After the initial neurologic examination physician will proceed to the laboratory and instrumental tests:
- MRI or CT scan will provide the physician with a comprehensive image of the brain and possible neoplasms. For better visualization, contrasts dye may be additionally administered through the intravenous injection. This increases test specificity and sensitivity.
- A biopsy is typically performed as the stereotactic procedure. This means that 3D coordinates of the brain cancer are predetermined and the intervention is additionally guided by MRI. Stereotactic biopsy is the most precise and safe biopsy type.
- Laboratory tests for the general health state assessment (complete blood count, blood coagulation test, blood biochemistry).
According to the results of the examination, astrocytoma may be characterized as pilocytic, diffuse (low-grade), anaplastic, or glioblastoma (which is grade IV astrocytoma).
Which Therapeutic Measures Will Give The Most Beneficial Result?
Schemes of the astrocytoma treatment in Germany include a number of options approved by the international protocols. In addition, patients may benefit from local developments in the sphere of neurosurgery or pharmacotherapy, or participate in clinical trials:
- Surgery may be curative in Grade I tumors or therapeutic in other cases. Surgical interventions should be performed in the safest possible mode, as astrocytoma may affect functionally important brain zones. German surgeons apply robotic interventions (ROSA system), MRI-guided catheter ablation techniques (Visualaseâ„¢ system) and functional mapping of the brain.
- Radiation therapy is applied in the form of radiosurgery (Gamma knife and Cyberknife systems) and fractionated whole-brain irradiation after the surgery (consolidation and recurrence prevention).
- Chemotherapy may be added to surgery and radiation therapy in aggressive cancer treatment. Current first-line medication is temozolomide that is characterized by nearly 100% bioavailability in oral administration. Temozolomide affects the DNA of the tumor cells blocking their multiplication.
Each medical program is followed by rehabilitation period for maximal restoring life quality and ability to fulfill activities of daily living.
Treatment Of Brain Astrocytoma Abroad With Booking Health
Planning to undergo treatment of brain astrocytoma in Germany without previous international medical experience may seem complicated. For such patients, it will be better to use the help of Booking Health. Booking Health is the certified medical tourism provider, official partner of best hospitals in Germany.
Specialists of Booking Health provide patients with reliable assistance in:
- Choosing a specialized healthcare facility.
- Becoming familiar with the preliminary diagnostic or therapeutic programs.
- Establishing communication directly with a treating physician and making an appointment on a convenient day.
- Excluding additional fees for the foreigners, reducing the cost for medical services.
- Control of the final calculation, unspent funds return.
- Purchasing and forwarding of medicines.
- Follow-up tests and distant consultations arrangement.
- Booking accommodation and tickets, transfer.
- Translating medical reports, services of an interpreter and personal coordinator.
Should you leave the request on the Booking Health website, medical expert of the company will contact you the same day.