Astrocytoma at 40x Magnification
Treatment for an astrocytoma depends upon a number of factors, such as the state of health of the patient and the specific characteristics (size, grade, location, etc.) of the tumor. Thus, a number of medical examinations and tests are carried out before any specific plan of action is developed. These often include computerized tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, and angiograms. In some cases, a biopsy may also be performed, but since this entails a medical operation, it is usually avoided if not deemed truly necessary. Following testing, a number of different treatments may ensue, but the first priority is generally to relieve any excess intracranial pressure, which can be achieved either by administration of steroids to reduce swelling or through the application of a shunt to drain fluid that has built up around the brain.