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Glioblastoma Awareness Day will be observed Wednesday, July 20, which makes this a good time to learn more about treating one of the most complex, deadly and treatment-resistant cancers.
More than 13,400 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with glioblastoma in 2022, according to the National Brain Tumor Society. The five-year survival rate is 6.8%, and the median length of survival is eight months.
Glioblastoma, also known as glioblastoma multiforme, is a type of glioma, which are tumors that occur in the brain and spinal cord. Glioblastoma is an aggressive cancer that forms from cells called astrocytes that support nerve cells.
While glioblastoma can occur at any age, it tends to occur more often in older adults. Symptoms vary based on the tumor's size, location and rate of growth. It can cause worsening headaches, nausea, vomiting and seizures. Glioblastoma also can cause confusion or decline in brain function, memory loss, difficulty with balance, and vision problems — symptoms an older person might mistake for changes due to aging.
Treatment may slow progression of the cancer, and reduce signs and symptoms. But glioblastoma can be difficult to treat, and a cure often is not possible. When it comes to developing a care plan, it's important to weigh the benefits of treatment against side effects that might reduce quality of life.
Glioblastoma treatment options include:
Connect with others talking about living with glioblastoma or caring for someone with glioblastoma in the Brain Tumor support group on Mayo Clinic Connect, an online patient community moderated by Mayo Clinic.
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