Gliomas are tumors that arise from the substance of the brain. The term glioma encompasses a diverse group of tumors, including both benign and malignant varieties. Some of the most common types of gliomas are oligodendroglioma, astrocytoma, ependymoma, and glioblastoma.
Using the latest advancements in medical technology, experts at UT Southwestern treat a large number of patients with all types of gliomas each year, which is important because it is clear that clinical outcomes for glioma patients are better at high-volume centers than at low-volume centers. As one of only two NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the state of Texas (and the only one in North Texas), UT Southwestern is a national leader in delivering state-of-the-art care.
Generally speaking, gliomas arise due to aberrations in normal brain cells. Depending on the nature of the aberration, the glioma can be fast- or slow-growing. Gliomas do not metastasize or travel to other parts of the body. Patients with gliomas commonly present with headaches, seizures, weakness, or vision changes.
Previously, being diagnosed with a glioma was often considered hopeless. Decades ago, patients were treated with aggressive regimens that resulted in significant side effects without an improvement in the quantity or quality of life. Today, the treatments for gliomas are much more sophisticated. Because we have a better understanding of the underlying biology and genetics of gliomas, we can tailor our treatments to maximize effectiveness while minimizing unwanted side effects.
The evaluation of a patient with a glioma requires careful thought and is best done in a multidisciplinary manner. At UT Southwestern, neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists, and neuro-oncologists work together to develop a personalized treatment plan for each patient.
Depending on the type of glioma, the treatment regimen can include:
- Surgery – the first step in treatment for most patients
- Chemotherapy and radiation therapy – used to treat high-grade gliomas
In addition to our strong clinical program, UT Southwestern offers glioma patients access to cutting-edge research programs. As the leading academic medical center in North Texas, UT Southwestern is uniquely poised to participate in novel clinical trials as part of a nationwide consortium. Researchers at UT Southwestern have been pioneers in the study of low-grade gliomas, which has led to the development of a targeted drug therapy for this disease.
How We Can Help
Most patients seen in the UT Southwestern glioma program are referred by other physicians in North Texas. You may ask to be referred to us by your physician, or you may contact us by calling 214-645-8300.
All patients with gliomas are seen promptly. Same- and next-day appointments are often available.
What to Expect
When you are seen at UT Southwestern for a glioma, your evaluating physician will gather information about your current disease status and any treatments you have had to date. We will then confer with the multidisciplinary glioma team, and together we will formulate a treatment plan that is personalized to you.