Thalamic Astrocytoma and Hypothalamic Astrocytoma

Also known as: TMD, TMJ

What are thalamic astrocytoma and hypothalamic astrocytoma?

An astrocytoma (a common type of glioma) is a form of brain cancer that starts in brain cells (astrocytes) that support and nourish other brain cells.
The thalamus and hypothalamus of the brain are deep parts of the brain that together allow us to identify sensations like temperature, pain and touch; they play a part in sleep and wakefulness, are a relay center for the nerve fibers that help us to move, regulates certain metabolic processes and the Autonomic Nervous System, and make and secrete neurohormones that affect hunger, thirst, anger and fatigue.   

What causes thalamic astrocytoma and hypothalamic astrocytoma? 

The exact cause of astrocytoma is unknown. Some combination of genetic factors and environmental causes may play a role.

What are the symptoms of thalamic astrocytoma and hypothalamic astrocytoma? 

Astrocytomas in the thalamus and hypothalamus tend to grow slowly so symptoms can be present for a long time or come on suddenly. Many symptoms are related to an increased pressure in the brain. Symptoms may include headache, nausea and vomiting, body weakness on one side, vision changes, changes related to hormone problems, water and salt imbalances and other problems.

What are thalamic astrocytoma and hypothalamic astrocytoma care options? 

Treatment for astrocytoma vary - some are aimed at the tumor itself while others treat complications or side effects of treatment. They often involve some combination of neurosurgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible, chemotherapy and  radiation therapy.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 3/22/2018 1:48:36 PM

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