What is Glioblastoma Multiforme?
Glioblastoma is a form of cancer that begins as cell growth in the brain or spinal cord. It spreads swiftly and has the ability to penetrate and destroy healthy tissue. Astrocytes, which feed on nerve cells, give rise to glioblastoma.
Glioblastomas (GBMs), sometimes known as “multiform” tumors because of their wide range of “glial” brain cell varieties, are referred to as “very variable” tumors. These tumors’ diversely specialized cell types interact intimately with healthy brain cells such as astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, microglia, and blood vessel cells. (Source)
- Primary glioblastoma – Almost 90% of the cases involve it. This kind of tumor typically spreads quickly and with aggression. Older adults are more likely to be affected. In addition, you probably have a shorter life expectancy.
- Secondary glioblastoma – This kind frequently arises from a low-grade glioma, a tumor that can form in the brain or spinal cord. It usually occurs in the frontal lobe of the brain and is more likely to afflict younger individuals. This type’s survival rate is generally higher than that of primary glioblastoma.
The cause of glioblastoma is unknown. It begins, like other cancers, when cells begin to grow uncontrolled and create tumors. Increased cell expansion could be related to gene alterations.
Glioblastoma can strike anyone at any age. Nonetheless, it is more common in older persons and more common in men.
This form of tumor is more likely to occur if you are:
- 40 years old
- It is more common in white individuals than in Black, Asian, or Indigenous people.
- Prior to head radiotherapy.
- Tur cot’s disease
- Type 1 neurofibromatosis
- Syndrome of Li-Fraumeni
- Chemicals and other cancer-causing factors may potentially raise your chances of developing genetic abnormalities.
Individuals with glioblastomas have symptoms quickly as a result of the tumor’s bulk effect or the fluid surrounding the tumor, which causes more brain swelling (edema). The following are common presenting symptoms at the time of diagnosis:
- Severe headaches
- Memory and linguistic problems
- Personality and behavioral changes
- Muscular paralysis or weakness
- Problems with coordination
- Speech, hearing, and vision difficulties
Additional symptoms may emerge based on the tumor’s size and location.
A neurologist (a specialist who specializes in detecting and treating brain diseases) will perform a thorough examination on you. Depending on your symptoms, you may undergo an MRI or CT scan, as well as additional testing. Positron emission tomography(PET) is another imaging test that may be used. Functional MRI(FMRI) is a good tool for determining which areas of the brain are active when a patient is asked to execute a specific task.
Surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, clinical trials, tumor treating fields (TTFields), and targeted therapies are just a few of the treatment options that may be used to treat glioblastoma.
Glioblastoma is frequently treated with surgery as the first step. Surgery helps the medical team to obtain a biopsy and make a diagnosis, as well as alleviate pressure on the brain and remove as much tumor as feasible safely.
Radiation and chemotherapy are used after surgery to inhibit the growth of remaining cancers and for tumors that cannot be eliminated surgically. In addition to chemotherapy, tumor treating fields (TTFields), which slow down cell division, may be used.
When do we see Doctor?
If you experience a change that isn’t normal for you, you should consult your doctor. or if you exhibit any of the potential cancer symptoms. Do not put off seeing them even if you are concerned about what the symptom might be. If you don’t schedule an appointment, your anxiety is not likely to go away.
Glioblastoma cannot be prevented in any way. Certain risk factors can raise the likelihood of developing a brain tumor. They include brain radiation therapy and certain hereditary illnesses.