Astrocytomas are a type of tumour that usually start in the brain and sometimes in the spinal cord. It’s best to read this with our general information about brain tumours and spinal cord tumours. This has more detail about tests and treatments.
This information is about astrocytoma in adults. We also have information about brain tumours that is written for teens and young adults. If you need information about astrocytoma in children, you can contact the Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group at cclg.org.uk.
Astrocytomas belong to a group of tumours called gliomas. Gliomas are tumours that develop from the main supporting cells (glial cells) in the brain or spinal cord.
Different types of gliomas are named after the different types of glial cells. Astrocytomas are the most common type of glioma. They develop from a star-shaped glial cell called an astrocyte.
Astrocytomas can develop in most parts of the brain and sometimes in the spinal cord. They can sometimes spread from where they started to other parts of the brain or spinal cord. They don’t spread to other parts of the body.
These tumours can affect people of any age, but they are more likely in older people.