Subependymal giant cell astrocytoma

What is Subependymal Giant Cell Astrocytoma?

Subependymal giant cell astrocytoma (SEGA) is a type of brain tumor that typically arises in the area around the ventricles of the brain of children and young adults with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). It is a tumor composed of large cells called astrocytes. Both the brain and spinal cord are made up of a variety of different cells; astrocytes are one type. In some cases, these cells can become abnormal and grow out of control.

SEGA tumors can grow very slowly and often do not cause any symptoms or require treatment. However, in some cases the tumors can grow quickly and cause neurological problems such as seizures or hydrocephalus (accumulation of fluid in the brain). In these cases, treatment may be needed.

Symptoms of Subependymal Giant Cell Astrocytoma

Symptoms of SEGA depend on the size of the tumor and where it is located in the brain. Common symptoms include headache, seizures, vision problems, and hydrocephalus. If the tumor obstructs the flow of fluid in the brain, this can cause increased pressure in the skull, which can lead to headaches, nausea, and vomiting.

In some cases, the tumor can cause swelling in the brain and block the flow of cerebral spinal fluid, leading to hydrocephalus. This can cause headaches, vomiting, nausea, and, if left untreated, can lead to coma or death.

Treatment of Subependymal Giant Cell Astrocytoma

Treatment of SEGA will depend on the size and growth rate of the tumor. Surgery is the most common type of treatment for small tumors that are not causing any symptoms. The goal of surgery is to remove as much of the tumor as possible. Other treatments, such as radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and stereotactic radiosurgery, may also be used for larger tumors or tumors that are growing quickly.

In some cases, medication alone may be used to reduce the growth of the tumor. These medications work by targeting specific proteins in the tumor cells to stop them from dividing and growing. Medication may also be used to reduce the risk of seizures due to the tumor.

Seeking Help for Subependymal Giant Cell Astrocytoma

If you have been diagnosed with SEGA, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent serious complications and improve your quality of life.

It is also important to seek support from family, friends, and professional health care providers to help you cope with diagnosis and treatment. Support groups may also be available to provide emotional support and information.

Coping With Subependymal Giant Cell Astrocytoma

Living with a SEGA diagnosis can be difficult and stressful. It is important to stay positive and take an active role in your own care.

  • Take time to relax and care for yourself.
  • Eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly.
  • Try to stay connected with friends and family for emotional support.
  • Seek help from a therapist if needed.
  • Ask your doctor about support groups or other resources.