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Astrocyte cells support nerve cells in your brain and spinal cord. When tumors occur in these cells, it is called astrocytoma.

Astrocytomas receive a grade depending on what the cells look like and how fast they grow or spread. Astrocytomas that are grade I or grade II grow slowly. These types of tumors are benign and not considered cancerous.

Grade I and II astrocytomas occur most often in people under the age of 20. They may cause symptoms such as:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Seizures
  • Sleepiness
  • Trouble walking or balancing
  • Vision problems
  • Vomiting

These types of astrocytomas are among the most treatable brain tumors. At the Brain Tumor Initiative, our expert pediatric neurosurgeons can remove tumors and relieve symptoms.


Neurological Exam
Your doctor may perform a neurological exam to test balance, vision, and other aspects of your child’s brain health. These tests can help determine if your child may have a brain tumor.

Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan
A CT scan is an X-ray of the brain that doctors can view in individual slices to identify any tumors.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
An MRI is an imaging scan of the brain that uses no radiation, but creates a highly detailed image of your child’s brain.

A neurosurgeon can remove cells from your brain metastases to study in a lab. Your surgeon may use a needle to remove cells or may remove cells during a surgery to remove the entire brain tumor.


A pediatric neurosurgeon will try to remove as much of the tumor as possible during surgery. Grade I astrocytoma typically have defined edges and are easier to remove completely.

Whole-Brain Radiation Therapy
If the surgeon cannot remove the entire tumor, your child may need radiation therapy. Radiation therapy uses energy to destroy tumor cells. Your child’s doctor may not recommend radiation therapy if your child is under age 3.

Gamma Knife® Radiosurgery
During Gamma Knife® radiosurgery, multiple weak beams of radiation are pointed at your child’s brain tumor. Where all the beams meet, there is strong radiation. Your child may need only one radiosurgery treatment to destroy tumor cells.

In very young children, chemotherapy may be the primary treatment for astrocytoma instead of surgery. Chemotherapy uses drugs to destroy tumor cells.

Clinical Trials
At the Brain Tumor Initiative, we provide access to the latest experimental treatments through clinical trials. These treatments give your child additional treatment options if their tumor does not respond to other treatments.

Why Choose Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center?

Sylvester is an NCI-designated cancer center. The National Cancer Institute has recognized Sylvester for its outstanding work conducting research in its laboratories, treating patients in its clinics and hospitals, and reaching out to medically underserved communities with innovative prevention strategies.

Groundbreaking brain tumor treatment. Experts from Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and UHealth make up one of the largest and most complete teams for brain tumor treatment in the United States. Through multi-disciplinary cooperation, our team employs innovative procedures like awake craniotomies, Gamma Knife® radiosurgery, and many other techniques. We use the least invasive neurosurgical techniques on both adults and children, which reduces recovery time and makes a significant difference in your quality of life.

Dedicated brain tumor experts. Your care team consists of specialized physicians and researchers who are committed to brain tumor care. Your team may include neurosurgeons, neuro-oncologists, radiation oncologists, neuropathologists, and other physicians who focus solely on treating brain tumors. Their years of experience and expertise help you find the right treatment for you.

Innovative research that changes the future of brain tumor care. As the only academic medical center in the area, we are on the cutting edge of brain tumor treatment and research. As a patient, you also have access to the innovative research and the latest in clinical trials. Our ongoing translational and clinical research has spawned promising treatments like the heat shock protein vaccine and targeted therapies designed for your specific type of brain tumor.

International leaders in brain tumor care. We play a vital role in the community, thanks to our groundbreaking research and patient care for people in Florida, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. We’re turning Miami into the health care capital of the Americas. We’re creating one of the premier brain tumor centers in the country.

Surgical expertise. We perform thousands of brain tumor surgeries every year and care for more brain tumors than any other health center in Florida. Our skilled neurosurgeons are consistently pioneering new treatments. From minimally invasive spine surgeries to awake craniotomies, we offer unique surgeries you cannot find anywhere else in the region.

Concierge service. Here, patients do not have to figure it all out alone. You are assigned a concierge coordinator who is there for you and your family. They connect you with other providers you may need, walk you through the surgery process, and can answer any questions you or your family may have.

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