Astrocytomas mostly have intracranial localization. However, in rare cases, this tumor may develop in the spinal cord. Since the incidence of pathology is low, doctors in most countries almost never encounter it. This is one of the reasons for unsatisfactory treatment results. Nonetheless, you can always get treatment abroad. Some German hospitals treat spinal astrocytomas quite regularly, as they admit patients from all over the world. The doctors who work in these hospitals have successful experience in dealing with this cancer pathology.
Features of the disease
When compared with other tumors of intramedullary localization, spinal astrocytomas are relatively rare diseases of the central nervous system. Based on the frequency of occurrence, they are second after ependymomas. These tumors are more common for men. The disease can also develop in childhood.
The most frequent location of this intramedullary tumor is cervical spinal cord. It can rarely affect thoracic spine, whereas other localizations are extremely rare.
Unlike intracranial astrocytoma growing from brain cells, the spinal variant of this tumor is most often poorly differentiated. However, well-differentiated tumors also occur. In children, their rate form the total number of astrocytomas is 12%. This number is approximately the same or little more in adults.
The diagnostics is based on MRI. Before the widespread introduction of this technique, computed tomography was used. However, MRI is much more effective. Magnetic resonance diagnostics allows not only to imagine tumors, but also using special studies (MR spectroscopy) to determine with a high degree of probability that this is astrocytoma, but not any other tumor. In this case, treatment can begin without the histological diagnostics. The study will be performed after tumor removal.
Despite the intramedullary localization, the tumor can be completely removed in many patients. At the same time, this will not lead to a significant neurological deficit.
In most cases, the tumor cannot be removed totally, because there is no clear border with healthy tissue. Spinal astrocytoma is characterized by infiltrative growth. In some cases, total removal would result in the significant neurological deficit.
Therefore, in case of the surgical treatment preference is given to subtotal or partial removal. To increase the relapse-free period, doctors prescribe postoperative irradiation. In some patients, radiation therapy becomes the primary method of treatment and can be used without surgery.
The effectiveness of treatment can be quite different. It essentially depends on:
- treatment options used (neoplasm removal, radiation therapy);
- removal technique (total, subtotal, partial);
- patient's age (in children, the relapse-free period is longer than in adults, whereas in young people, life expectancy after surgery is longer than in elderly patients);
- neurological status before treatment;
- histological type of astrocytoma;
- the medical facility where the patient had treatment and the methods used (if medicine in your country is poorly developed, treatment abroad is often more effective).
Where can patients undergo treatment?
The Booking Health company can arrange your diagnostics and treatment abroad. Germany offers many good hospitals specializing in neurosurgery and neuro-oncology. There are constantly conducted clinical trials, developed new treatments. The doctors use various operations and methods of radiation therapy, which affect astrocytoma cells but have a minimal effect on the healthy tissues.
If you want to use the best available astrocytoma treatment options or take part in clinical trials, you can consider one of these hospitals:
Gamma Knife and Radiotherapy Center Krefeld. The hospital specializes in the treatment of both intracranial and spinal neoplasms. Small neoplasm can be removed using non-surgical techniques, namely stereotactic radiosurgery.
University Hospital Halle. According to the Focus magazine, the hospital ranks among the best in Germany specializing in radiation therapy for oncological pathologies. It uses modern methods of irradiation, which allow for the reduced size of astrocytomas without a severe neurological deficit after the procedure.
University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus Dresden. The Department of Radiation Therapy, Radiation Oncology and Proton Therapy offers the most advanced treatments for intracranial and spinal tumors. It conducts clinical trials and timely introduces innovations in the field of neuro-oncology.
Arrangement of treatment abroad
Booking Health provides services for organizing treatment abroad. Thanks to our work, you can undergo therapy in the best hospitals in the world at an affordable price. We will take the full responsibility for the organization of your trip, whereas you will only have to concentrate on restoring your health. Our services and benefits include:
- Selection of the hospital, which doctors have sufficient and successful experience in treating spinal cord astrocytomas.
- Establishment of communication with the physician who deals with the therapy of this pathology.
- Preparation of the examination program without repeating previously performed diagnostic procedures.
- Reduced cost of treatment of cancer due to the lack of coefficients for foreign patients.
- Appointment with the doctor at the suitable dates for you.
- Control of the diagnostic and treatment program.
- Assistance in buying and forwarding medicines.
- Control of invoices and return of unspent funds.
- Communication with the hospital upon treatment completion.
- Organization of additional examinations.
Booking Health provides high quality services. Our staff will book a hotel and airline tickets for you, help you draw up documents for traveling abroad. We will meet you at the airport, take to the hospital, provide interpreting services for comfortable communication with the physician and hospital staff.