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Astrocytoma Brain Symptoms with Intramedullary Astrocytoma
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Astrocytoma Brain Symptoms with Intramedullary Astrocytoma

My husband has an intramedullary diffuse Grade 2 astrocytoma between the T1 and T4 that was diagnosed 18 months ago.  At the time he was recovering from a kidney/pancreas transplant and was asymptomatic for the tumor.  Since that time, he has suffered from extreme back pain radiating to the chest, decreased sensitization and difficulty standing from a prone position.  He is now in severe pain.  Within the last two months though, he has also been suffering from neck pain, headaches, dizziness, nausea and aphasia.  Suspecting dissemenation, we had another MRI scan done.  They found nothing within his brain and said there is no change in the spine from the MRI they did in February of 2009.  What else could be causing the brain symptoms?  Could a tumor within his head be to small to be detected by the MRI and still causing the symtoms (symptoms)? Could it be related to the spinal tumor?  Could it be strokes caused by the blocking of the spinal canal?  We don't think they are medication related issues as nothing new has been added to his medications.  Also what pain relief works for an intramedullary astrocytoma?  He hates taking the pain meds and has tried acupuncture with no success, but chemo and radiation are out as they would affect his transplants.  Thanks for your help.
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Hi, Thank you for your question. Generally, grade-2 astrocytoma is slow growing and represents with most common symptoms of seizures. Although resection along with radiation & chemotherapy of tumor may provide relief in symptoms (seizures) in one or to years, but due to invasive nature of the tumor it may recur as well. Therefore, your treating doctor will be in best position to let you know the precise outcome after the surgery. Hope this helps.

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But they can't find an intracranial tumor in the MRIs, only an unresectable intramedullary one.  So what could be causing the intracranial symptoms (headache, aphasia, neck pain, nausea and dizziness)?  He can't have radiation or chemo for the spinal tumor either due to the pancreas/kidney transplant and the complications it could create for them.   Is there some alternative for pain relief besides resection?  
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