Symptoms of Oligodendroglioma

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Oligodendroglioma is a rare brain or spinal cord tumor. Its symptoms include seizures, headaches, memory problems, numbness, weakness, speech and language changes, and more. Some symptoms depend on the size and location of the tumor.

This article discusses frequent symptoms and complications of oligodendroglioma.

Scans of a person's spine

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Frequent Symptoms 

The primary symptom of oligodendroglioma is a seizure. Approximately 60% of people with this type of tumor have a seizure before being diagnosed.

Other symptoms of oligodendroglioma include:

  • Headaches
  • Memory problems 
  • Speech and language changes
  • Numbness in the arms and/or legs
  • Balance problems
  • Weakness 
  • Vision problems
  • Personality changes

Symptoms depend on the size and location of the tumor. As the tumor grows, it may grow into or press on nearby areas of the brain, which may cause that area of the brain to function abnormally. This can cause symptoms corresponding to the disruption of normal function in that area of the brain.

For example, the brain's frontal lobe is responsible for behavior, personality, logic and reasoning, and movement. A tumor in that area of the brain may cause additional symptoms, such as changes in personality and behavior or troubles with balance and movement.

Oligodendroglioma in the temporal lobe, for example, may cause symptoms related to memory and language.

Complications

Complications associated with oligodendroglioma include:

  • Hydrocephalus (build-up of fluids in the brain, often caused by the tumor blocking the flow of cerebrospinal fluid)
  • Intracranial hemorrhage
  • Recurrence (return of the tumor) 
  • Parkinsonism (movement abnormalities typically seen in Parkinson’s disease)

Some people may experience treatment-related side effects and complications from surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.

When to See a Doctor

While seizures are often the first symptom of an oligodendroglioma, some people with slow-growing oligodendrogliomas may experience mild symptoms for years before the tumor is found.

If you have symptoms that could indicate oligodendroglioma, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider. An early and accurate diagnosis can ensure you get the appropriate treatment and improve your long-term outcomes. 

If you have an oligodendroglioma diagnosis, talk with your healthcare provider if you begin to experience new or worsening symptoms. Keeping the lines of communication open with your provider can help them determine the best treatments for you. 

Summary 

Oligodendroglioma symptoms include seizures, headaches, memory problems, personality changes, trouble with balance and movement, numbness, weakness, and more. Symptoms may vary depending on the size and location of the tumor. Since symptoms of oligodendroglioma are similar to other types of brain tumors, it’s essential to be as specific as possible with your healthcare provider.

A Word From Verywell 

Being diagnosed with a brain tumor can be scary. Be sure to watch out for new and worsening symptoms and communicate them to your healthcare provider. Having as much information as possible can ensure your treatment plan is tailored to your case. Though an oligodendroglioma diagnosis can be scary, there are effective treatment options available.

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5 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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