Factors that affect an astrocytoma prognosis depends on the type of astrocytoma, its size and location of the tumor, according to the American Brain Tumor Association. Prognosis also depends on the overall health of the patient and whether or not he has received treatment in the past.
Astrocytomas can attack several areas of the brain, including the brainstem, the cerebrum and cerebellum and the spinal cord. They can be benign or malignant, according to the National Cancer Institute. Astrocytomas most often occur in young people. When they occur in children, they tend to be slow growing and localized. They tend to be more aggressive in adults.
Types of astrocytomas include the pilocytic astrocytoma. This type of tumor doesn't spread, is localized and is considered a grade 1 tumor, states the ABTA. Another type of astrocytoma is the diffuse astrocytoma, which is slow growing but invasive. Types of diffuse astrocytoma are fibrillary, gemistocytic and protoplasmic.
Other kinds of astrocytomas are the grade 3 anaplastic astrocytoma and the grade 4 astrocytoma, also called a glioblastoma, explains ABTA. Grade 4 astrocytomas can be quite aggressive, and a low-grade astrocytoma can progress to a grade 4 tumor. There's also the subependymal giant cell astrocytoma.
Depending on the type of astrocytoma, the patient may receive surgery, radiation, chemotherapy or a combination of all three, according to the ABTA.