Glioblastoma is considered the most aggressive tumor that can form in the brain. Senator John McCain was diagnosed with one in July 2017.
According to the figures, patients have a 10 percent chance of surviving five years after diagnosis. The average life expectancy is between 14 and 16 months.
Three adults in every 100,000 will suffer from glioblastoma, says the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS).
It is most commonly found in men aged 50 to 60, and there is no link between developing glioblastoma and having a history of other cancers.
WHAT IS THE TUMOR MADE OF?
The tumor is made up of a mass of rapidly growing cells in the brain, and in most cases, patients have no family history of the disease.
It will not spread to other organs; However, once diagnosed, it is almost impossible to detect, surgeons say.
Unlike other types of brain cancer that are more specifically located, glioblastoma can occur anywhere in the brain.
WHAT TREATMENT IS AVAILABLE?
Because the tumor has likely already spread deep into the brain by the time it is diagnosed, cancerous tissue is incredibly difficult to remove.
The surgeon will only remove the tumor, or part of the tumor, if it does not cause any damage to the surrounding brain tissue.
Dr. Babcar Cisse, a neurosurgeon at the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center, told Daily Mail Online in July 2017: “When glioblastoma is diagnosed, the microfibers can spread to the rest of the brain, which an MRI would not detect.”
“So even if the main tumor is removed and the patient receives radiation and chemotherapy, it will come back.”
CLASSIFICATION OF A GLIOBLASTOMA
Brain tumors are graded from one to four, depending on how quickly they grow and how aggressive they are.
Malignant tumors receive a high grade three or four, while benign tumors receive a lower grade one or two.
Glioblastoma is often called grade four astrocytoma, another form of brain tumor, says the AANS.
Patients often complain of symptoms such as blurred vision, memory problems, dizziness, and headaches.
Symptoms are somewhat nonspecific, vary from person to person, and may not persist.
Some patients suffer blindness if the tumor compresses the optic nerve, which connects the retina to the brain, causing vision loss.
Therefore, the disease is impossible to diagnose based on symptoms alone.