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Facts About Glioblastoma Multiforme

There are more than 100 different forms of tumors that occur in the brain and central nervous system. Glioblastoma Multiforme is one of those types. It is mainly the most aggressive form of brain tumor with a survival rate of circa 10 to 15 months.

What is Glioblastoma?

A glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a baneful tumor caused through astrocytes brain cells. This tumor is dangerous, aggressive, and difficult to cure since it quickly spread around the brain tissue. In the vast majority of cases, the exact cause of this tumour is unidentifiable. With the help of biopsies and imaging tests, the doctors make the diagnosis.

Glioblastoma is still not curable. The treatment patients receive majorly emphasises on slowing down the spreading of this disease and enhancing the quality of their life.

Things To Know About Glioblastoma Multiforme

To know more about glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), it is a type of tumor that develops in the central nervous system. It grows in the supportive tissue of the brain and spinal cord of adults in most cases. It evolves in the star-shaped brain cells which are called astrocytes and hence named as an astrocytic tumor.

As read before glioblastoma is a common and the most aggressive form of brain tumors. In spite of the most exceptional surgical facilities, treatments, and radiotherapies, it has a poor prognosis. Most sufferers depart their life within 15 – 20 months from detection. There are some patients affected by glioblastoma multiforme to survive three or more years. However, after surgically removing the tumor many people have clung to their life for decades without recurrence.

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Image Credit: Bristol-Myers Squibb Company

Glioblastoma Causes

It is hard to explain the exact reasons for glioblastoma. Research says that circa 5% of all GBM are developed due to the hereditary conditions; whereas the remaining 95% don’t hold any distinct cause. The cells infected with glioblastoma have more genetic defects or abnormalities than the other types. Several genetic mutations are responsible for the spreading of this life-threatening cancer. The major causes of these genetic mutations are-

  • Inherit DNA defects
  • Environmental effects caused by exposure to chemicals or any other substances that can cause cancer in living tissues.
  • High-dose ionizing radiation

Researchers are still looking into the potential environmental, genetic, and occupational causes of this aggressive brain tumor.

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Glioblastoma Symptoms

Symptoms for glioblastoma multiforme depends on the spot in the brain where the tumor develops, its size, and the part it controls. Indeed, the symptoms differ from person to person. They could be-

  • Severe headache that gets worse progressively
  • Chronic nausea and vomiting – generally worse in the morning
  • Poor appetite
  • Speaking, hearing, and vision troubles
  • Giddiness while walking
  • Weakness
  • Change in personality, activity level, behavior, mood, etc.

Glioblastoma Risk Factors

As researchers say, some unusual genetic syndromes can increase the risk of developing brain tumors that can also include glioblastoma. Below listed are the syndromes that can increase the risk of the cancerous tumor in the brain.

  • Neurofibromatosis Type 1 or 2 (NF1 or NF2)
  • Tuberous sclerosis
  • Turcot syndrome type 1 or 2
  • von Hippel-Lindau disease
  • Nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome
  • Li-Fraumeni syndrome

Glioblastoma Diagnosis

Various procedures are followed to examine the brain and diagnose the tumor. Apart from the physical checkup, the experts may also perform neurological exams to assess the patient’s mental status and coordination, and even the vision test. Other testing options include-

  • Angiogram
  • SPECT scan
  • CT scan
  • PET scan
  • MRI

Biopsies are also a tool doctors can use for glioblastomas diagnosis.

Glioblastoma Treatment

There are various options available for glioblastoma treatment. These options are used based on the type of tumor and the oncologist’s plan of treatment. The options may include-

  • Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation are the usual options
  • The doctors can give chemotherapy into the brain during the surgery
  • Patients may get radiation and chemo together at the same time

Glioblastoma Survival Rate

As read before, glioblastoma is dangerous brain cancer. The disease is not curable. The plan of treatment only focuses on slowing the advancement of the disease than curing. However, spreading and transforming varies in each case. The survival rates highly depend on the tumor portion the surgeon removes, the way it responds to the treatment, and the nature of the procedure.

Conclusion

Notwithstanding the research, therapies with improved technology, and surgical treatments, glioblastoma diagnosis is equivalent to a death knell. Younger sufferers have more chances for survival; whereas only a minuscule percentage of adults survive more than five years beyond diagnosis. The type of tumor and the patient’s overall health and age plays a great role. As the surgical techniques and treatments improve, people fighting against this aggressive brain tumor may get a better outcome.

Diagnosed with glioblastoma can cause different emotions, including anxiety and fear. In such a case, people should reach out Dr. Nezami to the closest and dearest ones for support. They can also find out support groups for sufferers with the same.

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