Senator John McCain was diagnosed with glioblastoma in July 2017
Glioblastoma is considered to be the most aggressive tumor that can form in the brain. Senator John McCain was diagnosed with one in July 2017.
According to the numbers, patients have a 10 percent chance of survival five years after their diagnosis. The average lifespan is between 14 and 16 months.
Three adults in every 100,000 will have a glioblastoma, says the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS).
It is most commonly found in men ages 50 to 60, and there is no association between developing glioblastoma and a history of other cancers.
WHAT IS THE TUMOR?
The tumor is made up of a mass of cells that grow rapidly in the brain, and in most cases, patients have no family history of the disease.
It won’t spread to other organs, but once diagnosed it’s nearly impossible to attack, surgeons claim.
Unlike other types of brain tumors that are more precisely localized, glioblastoma can occur in any part of the brain.
WHAT TREATMENT IS AVAILABLE?
Because the tumor is likely to have spread deep into the brain by the time it is diagnosed, the cancerous tissue is incredibly difficult to remove.
The surgeon will only remove the tumor or part of the tumor if he does not damage 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 a glioblastoma is diagnosed, microfibers can spread to the rest of the brain that an MRI would not detect.
“Even if the main tumor is removed and the patient receives radiation and chemotherapy, they’ll come back.”
EVALUATION OF A GLIOBLASTOMA
Brain tumors are ranked between one and four depending on how fast they grow and how aggressive they are.
Malignant tumors are scored with either a high grade three or four, while benign tumors are scored with a lower grade one or two.
Glioblastoma is often referred to as grade 4 astrocytoma – another form of brain tumor, says the AANS.
Patients typically complain of symptoms such as impaired vision, impaired memory, dizziness, and headache.
The symptoms are somewhat non-specific and vary from person to person and cannot last.
The disease cannot therefore be diagnosed on the basis of symptoms alone.