About Glioblastoma (GBM)
What is a GBM?
A Glioblastoma is the most common and aggressive type of brain tumour in adults. They are malignant grade 4 tumours, are very fast growing and even when treated will come back. They belong to a group of brain tumours known as gliomas as it grows from a type of brain cell called a glial cell.
Brain tumours can impact hugely on the patient’s quality of life. The initial symptoms of a brain tumour will differ from person to person depending on where the tumour is located, on its size and how aggressive it is. Someone with a brain tumour may suffer from both cognitive and physical symptoms.
May include the ability to think straight; confusion; memory loss; behaviour and personality changes.
May include nausea and dizziness; headaches; tiredness and fatigue; difficulties with vision; difficulties with speech; loss of balance and co-ordination; numbness or weakness in the body and or face; loss of appetite; behaviour or personality changes; seizures.
The cause of a Glioblastoma is not known. As with most brain tumours, it is important to know that there is nothing you could have done, or not done to avoid getting a Glioblastoma. Scientists are researching into possible causes focused around our genes.
Upon diagnosis, the average survival time is between 2 and 3 months without treatment. With treatment the survival time is between 12 and 18 months and on average 14 months. Even with intensive treatment it is likely to come back.
Only 25% of glioblastoma patients survive more than one year and only 5% of patients survive more than five years.
Depending on the location of the tumour, surgery is the first option for the treatment of a GBM usually followed by chemoradiation. This is a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. With Glioblastomas it can be difficult to remove the whole tumour because they are ‘diffuse’ meaning they have threadlike elements that spread out into the brain. Even with intensive treatment it is likely to come back due to its complex nature.
- Glioblastomas are the common name for a type of brain tumour called a grade 4 Astrocytoma. They are sometimes called Glioblastoma Multiforme, GBM or GBM4.
- They can occur at any age but tends to occur more often in older adults
- Treatments may slow progression of the cancer and reduce symptoms
- There is no cure…YET!