Glioma is a common type of primary brain tumour, which begins in the glial cells. Glial cells are gluey supportive cells that surround and help the nerve cells in functioning. Gliomas are categorized according to the type of glial cells involved in the tumour.

Gliomas can influence your brain function and be fatal depending on their location and rate of growth. They tend to intermix with normal brain tissues, thus complicating their treatment and surgical removal. These brain tumours are more prevalent in males and adults but can affect all ages.

The exact cause of gliomas is not known but certain risk factors associated with it include age (between sixty and eighty), radiations to brain, and genetic disorders.

The symptoms depend on the size, location and type of the tumours. The symptoms can also worsen or alter as the tumour grows and affects the brain cells

Symptoms include:

  • Headache

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Seizures

  • Memory loss

  • Confusion or decreased brain functions

  • Changes in personality

  • Speech difficulty

  • Vision problems

  • Difficulty with balance

  • Urinary incontinence

If you are noticing changed behaviour in yourself or a loved one, you can get a preliminary examination with a specialist working with the Mind and Brain Service Line at The Aga Khan University Hospital.

Upon examination, the specialist may recommend you to consult a doctor at the Oncology Service Line​ at The Aga Khan University Hospital.
Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here​ are some tips to help get you started.

Initially, your doctor will ask about the symptoms you have been experiencing and your complete medical history. Following this they may perform a complete physical exam. In addition to this, you may be subjected to some other tests, including:

  • A neurological exam in which your doctor may check your vision, hearing, balance, coordination, strength, reflexes and the ability to think and remember, to determine the part of the brain affected by the tumour

  • Computerized Tomography (CT) scans in which a series of detailed images, of the brain, are taken by a computer. This is done to produce a three-dimensional image

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans in which a series of detailed images of the brain are made on the computer using a magnet and radio waves. This is the best method to diagnose most type of brain tumours

  • Biopsy in which a sample of the tumour is extracted to be studied under the microscope​

Your doctor will devise an individualized treatment plan for you depending on the location and size of the tumour as well as the type of glioma (cell type). Your age, overall health and personal preferences will also be taken into account in addition to the potential benefits and risks of the different treatment options.

Your treatment options may include:

  • Surgery to remove as much of the tumour as possible. Imaging techniques such as CT scan and functional MRI may be used to aid the surgery. There are high chances of recurrence of the tumour

  • Radiation therapy in which high-energy X-rays or other radiations are used to kill the cancerous cells

  • Chemotherapy in which drugs, taken orally or injected, are used to kill the cancerous cells. This is often used in combination with the radiation therapy​

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.
The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.
The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments’ costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.
Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.