What is glioblastoma?
Glioblastoma is also called glioblastoma multiforme, or GBM. GBM is a type of primary brain cancer. This means that GBM tumors begin in the brain, rather than starting in another part of the body and then traveling to the brain. GBM is the most common type of primary brain cancer in adults.
Who gets GBM?
A diagnosis may have been your first time learning about GBM. Because of this, it may seem that GBM is rare compared with lung cancer or breast cancer. But you are not alone.
Where in the brain does GBM occur?
Most people get GBM tumors in their cerebral hemispheres—the left and right halves of the brain that control reading, thinking, speech, muscle movement, and emotions. Rarely, GBM can also appear in the brain stem or spinal cord.
What kinds of symptoms does GBM cause?
GBM does not usually spread to other areas of the body. However, GBM tumors grow quickly in the brain. Because of this, you may have noticed symptoms appearing suddenly, as if out of nowhere.
As a GBM tumor grows, it can put pressure on the brain, causing:
- Nausea and vomiting
Depending on the location of the tumor, GBM can also interfere with how the brain controls other parts of the body, leading to:
- Weakness on one side of the body
- Difficulty with memory or speech
- Changes in vision
Why is GBM hard to treat?
You may have heard that GBM can be hard to treat. That has a lot to do with where GBM is located in the brain. Because GBM can be hard to reach, surgery may not be able to remove the entire tumor. GBM also grows fast and can spread quickly. But there is a variety of approaches available to treat GBM. The more you know about your options—and the sooner you know about them—the greater your opportunity to take control of GBM.
If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with GBM for the first time, see Treatments for newly diagnosed GBM.
If you or a loved one received treatment for GBM, and the tumor returned, see Treatments for recurrent GBM.