What signs might indicate aggressive type of cancer?

September 11, 2022  17:38

Glioblastoma is a rare type of brain cancer that only makes headlines when diagnosed by famous people, but in the last few years the disease has begun to become more and more well-known.

Glioblastoma is still a rare tumor, with 15,000 cases diagnosed each year in the United States, Dr. Manmeet Ahluwalia, head of medical oncology for solid tumors at the Miami Cancer Institute, told Eat This, Not That! 

Although glioblastoma is infrequent, knowing the signs can help diagnose more quickly and begin treatment to slow the progression of the disease.

Despite advances in chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery, the survival rate for glioblastoma is still pitiful, according to the specialist. Most glioblastoma patients live 15 to 18 months.

According to the Mayo Clinic, glioblastoma is an aggressive type of cancer that can arise in the brain or spinal cord. Glioblastoma forms from cells called astrocytes, which support nerve cells.

The following factors may increase the risk of developing the disease:

  • Exposure to chemicals such as pesticides, oil, synthetic rubber and vinyl chloride.
  • Genetic, tumor-causing diseases such as neurofibromatosis, Li-Fraumeni syndrome and Turco syndrome.
  • Previous radiation therapy of the head area.

Signs and symptoms of glioblastoma can vary greatly depending on the size of the brain tumor, its location in the brain, and its rate of growth. Typically, these headaches are worse in the morning. Other signs of a glioblastoma or brain tumor include seizures, cognitive decline, personality changes, balance and coordination problems, weakness on one side of the body, vision changes or hearing problems, Dr. Ahluwalia said.

Many of these symptoms can be caused by other health problems. Still, it's important to see your doctor if you have these symptoms. 

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