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< Brain and Spine Cancer


About Oligodendrogliomas

An oligodendroglial tumor begins in brain cells called oligodendrocytes, which help keep nerve cells healthy. An oligodendrocyte is a type of glial cell. Grades of oligodendroglial tumors include the following:

Anaplastic oligodendroglioma (grade III):

An anaplastic oligodendroglioma grows quickly and spreads into nearby tissues. The tumor cells look different from normal cells. This type of tumor usually cannot be cured. 

Oligodendroglioma (grade II):

An oligodendroglioma grows slowly, but often spreads into nearby tissues. The tumor cells look something like normal cells. In some cases, an oligodendroglioma can be cured.

They are most likely to be diagnosed in adults, although they do occur in young children. Rarely this tumour can spread within the central nervous system, in the fluid that circulates around the brain and spinal cord. 


Because of their generally slow growth, Oligodendrogliomas are often present for years before they are diagnosed. The most common symptoms are seizures, headaches and personality changes. Other symptoms vary by location and size of the tumor.

Tumors of the frontal lobe may cause weakness on one side of the body, personality or behavior changes, and difficulty with short-term memory. Temporal lobe tumors are usually “silent,” causing few symptoms other than perhaps seizures or language problems.

Risk Factors

Most Oligodendrogliomas occur in adults ages 50-60, and are found in men more often than women.

Online Cancer Help Library

We've seen first-hand that patient education is key to feeling confident and empowered throughout your treatment journey. That’s why we’ve created an extensive education resource to help you better understand your specific tumor type. The more you and your support system know about your condition and how to care for yourself before, during and after your cancer treatment, the more likely you are to follow your team’s medical recommendations throughout the process.

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