As reported on Dana Farber's Insight Blog, glioblastomas are a fast-moving cancer and the most common primary cancer of the brain. However, we are learning more and more about this type of cancer and are finding ways new ways to fight it.
Check out these 5 things you need to know about glioblastomas.
1. What is it?
A glioblastoma, typically found in adults, is a central nervous system tumor. It forms in the supportive tissue of the spinal cord and brain. It is an astrocytic tumor, meaning it begins in the star-shaped cells in the brain called astrocytes.
2. What are the common symptoms?
Symptoms vary depending on where the tumor begins its growth in the brain, how big the cancer is, and what part of the brain the region it is growing in controls. Symptoms also vary from person to person.
Symptoms can include:
Progressively worsening headache
Frequent nausea and vomiting, often worse in the morning
Loss of appetite
Vision, hearing, and speech problems
Loss of balance and trouble walking
Unusual sleepiness or change in activity level
Changes in personality, mood, ability to focus, or behavior
3. What are the risk factors for glioblastomas?
The cause of most adult brain tumors is unknown or not adequately understood. However, there are some rare genetic syndromes that doctors have found that may increase the risk of brain tumors, including glioblastoma.
Genetic syndromes that increase risk:
Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) or 2 (NF2)
von Hippel-Lindau disease
Turcot syndrome type 1 or 2
Nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome
4. How is glioblastoma diagnosed by doctors?
Various procedures are used to examine the brain and diagnose a potential brain tumor. Doctors may also perform neurological exams to test a person’s mental abilities and coordination, and vision.
Other tests can include:
Brain biopsies are also used, they involve taking a piece of tissue from the brain and testing it for cancerous cells. Typically, this is done after an imaging test reveals a brain tumor.
5. What kind of treatment is there for glioblastomas?
Treatments are chosen based upon the tumor and your oncologist’s treatment plan:
Surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy are standard treatments and provided routinely. Occasionally chemotherapy is also sometimes placed into the brain during surgery. Radiation and chemotherapy are given together at the same time.
Please note, the contents of this article do not necessarily represent the official position of the PSMO. If you have any health concerns, please consult your general physician. For any cancer-related concerns and to ensure the best possible advice, please speak to a Cancer Expert. If you would like to reach out to the PSMO, please contact us here or search for your closest PSMO doctor here.
Article Reference Source: http://blog.dana-farber.org/insight/2014/08/five-things-you-need-to-know-about-glioblastomas/