Primary brain tumors include tumors that originate from the tissues of the brain or the brain's immediate surroundings. About half of these tumors originate from the supporting cells for the nerve cells, glia cells. Examples are astrocytes and oligodendrocyte precursor and ependymal cells. From these cells tumors can develop, which we call glioma.

The malignity of the tumor can be classified based on characteristics in low-grade glioma (grade 1 and 2) and high-grade gliona (grade 3 and 4). Low and high are not the same as good and bad, only grade 1 is considered benign. Grade 1 glioma grow slowly and locally and therefore usually can be removed completely via surgery. The other grade 2-4 glioma are malignant; with grade 4 being the most malignant. They almost always regrow. 


Symptoms of glioma may vary depending on the growing speed of the tumor and the location in the brain the tumor is growing. Symptoms may include: 

  • Headache
  • Personality changes
  • Seizures
  • Weakness in arms, legs and/or face
  • Problems with speech


When a brain tumor is seen on a MRI scan, it's usually not possible to know the type of tumor. In order to make an accurate diagnosis a tissue sample is taken via surgery (biopsy) and examined by a pathologist. It's also possible to remove more tumor tissue, this is called a resection. In some cases surgery can result in removing the complete tumor, usually the goal is to stop and prevent tumor growth, improving symptoms and quality of life and life expectancy. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy usually follow surgery once the final diagnosis is determined.

Within UNCH Haaglanden Medical Centrum is expert center for diagnosing and treating patients with glioma.

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