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What type of tumor is an oligodendroglioma?

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An oligodendroglioma is a tumor in the brain, believed to be grown from oligodendrocytes, one of the types of cells that make up the supportive tissue of the brain. Oligodendroglioma are brain tumors occurring predominantly in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain, explains the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada, and they account for approximately 2.5 percent of primary brain tumors and 5 to 6 percent of all gliomas.

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Oligodendrogliomas are soft, grayish-pink tumors, often containing mineral deposits called calcifications, areas of hemorrhage and cysts. Due to the slow-growth nature of these tumors, symptoms of oligodendrogliomas often take years to manifest, reports the American Brain Tumor Association. Symptoms vary with the size and location of the tumor, but most commonly include seizures, headaches and personality changes. Tumors of the frontal lobe may cause weakness on one side of the body, personality changes and impeded short-term memory. Temporal lobe tumors have fewer obvious symptoms, but they can manifest seizures and language problems.

The exact cause of oligodendroglioma is unknown. Treatment generally favors surgical removal of the tumor, if the tumor is readily accessible. For inaccessible tumors, doctors may perform a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis and determine the grade of tumor. Doctors can treat low-grade oligodendrogliomas with surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy, notes the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada.

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