Pilocytic Astrocytomas generally form sacs of fluid (cysts), or may be enclosed within a cyst. Although they are usually slow growing, these tumors can become very large.
Diffuse Astrocytomas contain microcysts and mucous-like fluid.
Anaplastic Astrocytomas tend to have tentacle-like arms that grow into surrounding tissue, making them difficult to completely remove during surgery.
Astrocytoma Grade IV (glioblastoma) may contain cystic material, calcium deposits, blood vessels, and/or a mixed grade of cells.
-Changes in behavior (most common)
Pilocytic Astrocytoma: These tumors are often removed by surgery alone. In adults and older children, radiation may follow surgery if the tumor cannot be completely removed as well as regular monitoring.
Diffuse Astrocytoma: If the tumor is accessible and can be completely removed, the only additional care required is follow-up scans.
Anaplastic Astrocytoma: The first step in treatment of anaplastic astrocytoma is surgery. Radiation is then used to treat the remaining tumor. Chemotherapy may be recommended immediately after radiation or when and if the tumor returns.
Astrocytoma Grade IV: The first treatment step is surgery to remove as much tumor as possible. Surgery is almost always followed by radiation. Chemotherapy is often given at the same time as radiation and may be used to delay radiation in children.