Symptoms and diagnosis of a glioma
The symptoms of a glioma are very varied and depend on the size, location and infiltration of the tumor mass.
For example, a tumor that occurs at the level of the parietal lobe of the brain (ie in the lateral part) can cause difficulties in speaking, understanding what is said, writing, reading and coordinating certain movements; a tumor at the level of the occipital lobe (ie in the posterior part) can instead cause a decrease in the sight.
The symptoms that may arise are:
- Sense of nausea and vomiting
- Epilepsy attacks
- Visual disturbances
- Difficulties in talk
- Sudden changes in personality and behavior
- Intracranial hemorrhage especially in cases of glioblastoma multiforme.
Headache is the most characteristic symptom that distinguishes all brain tumors. It is caused by the pressure of the tumor mass against the skull and adjacent areas (intracranial pressure) and because of this, it tends to increase in intensity gradually with the growth of the tumor.
When symptoms suggest a brain tumor, the path of diagnosis begins with an accurate neurological examination. During the neurological examination, the doctor submits the patient to various checks, aimed at assessing the sight, the hearing, balance, coordination and reflexes. The partial or total loss of one of these abilities provides reliable information on the area of the encephalon involved.
Instrumental exams such as computerized axial tomography ( CAT ) and nuclear magnetic resonance ( NMR ) guarantee clear images of the brain and its internal anatomy. Through these tests information is obtained concerning the location, the size and the type of tumor.
The brain biopsy takes place after identifying the area affected by the glioma; the examination consists in the collection of a small portion of the tumor mass and in its observation under the microscope. The characteristics of the tumor cells clarify the nature of the tumor: which cells have been affected, the degree and the malignancy.