Several prominent political figures have died from glioblastoma (GBM) over recent years, making the disease a focal point in the news. In addition, Glioblastoma Awareness Day occurs annually in July to bring more awareness to this disease, spurring research and helping the public better understand it. However, despite the increasing attention given to this form of cancer, many people still don’t know the following critical facts about it.
How aggressive is glioblastoma?
This type of brain cancer is very aggressive. The tumor grows fast and spreads quickly.
Sadly, patients already have a low chance of survival by the time it is discovered. However, according to Glioblastoma Foundation professionals, after diagnosis, patients who choose treatment have an average life expectancy of 12-15 months, while those who choose not to only live for about four more months, on average.
The survival time of glioblastoma patients varies by individual, as with other diseases. A small number live more than 5 years.
How does it form?
The tumors form on glial cells, which live in people’s brains and spines. These cells are critical to brain function.
There are many different types of glial cells, although the most common to turn into GBM are called astrocytes. These cells are star-shaped, which makes glioblastoma more dangerous because the mutation develops tentacles that make it easier for the cancer to spread.
What causes glioblastoma?
So far, little is known about glioblastoma causes. What is known so far is that while it can impact anyone, it tends to affect older adults more.
Other risk factors include exposure to radiation and family history. While this brain cancer is rarely hereditary, there does seem to be a higher association in those who have specific genetic conditions, such as neurofibromatosis type 1.
What treatment options are there?
According to the Glioblastoma Foundation, the current treatment for the disease is a mixture of chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation. Unfortunately, these treatment options are not a cure, and doctors have made little strides in developing a cure for the disease.
When individuals are diagnosed with GBM, they need to know the facts. Loved ones also must understand more to provide the proper support.
A few last words
The above information is not intended as medical advice; it is presented for information purposes only. See your doctor about anything worrying you in body or mind. They can refer you to a specialist, as needed, who will answer any questions about treatment options and the disease itself.
Learning more about the disease and potential treatments is crucial to stay informed. Then, those who are diagnosed with glioblastoma can make the best decision for their situation.