Astrocytoma at 10x Magnification
The primary treatment for an astrocytoma is generally surgery. The goal of such treatment is to excise as much of the growth as possible without afflicting any damage to adjacent areas of the brain. Of course, in many instances, certain factors may make it impossible to successfully remove an entire tumor, in which case follow up treatment of either chemotherapy or radiotherapy may be necessary. High-grade tumors are especially difficult to eradicate via surgery, and in some cases surgery may not be recommended at all due to position or widespread invasion of the brain tissues. Individuals that do not elect to undergo surgery typically undertake a combined treatment of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The prognosis of patients is greatly determined by the grade of the tumor. The lowest-grade astrocytomas, which are sometimes known as pilocytic gliomas, have a five-year survival rate of approximately 70 percent, but the outlook for patients with higher-grade tumors is significantly less propitious.