3 Treatment Approaches For Glioblastoma

A diagnosis of glioblastoma is among the most difficult cancer diagnoses to hear. Although this form of brain cancer tends to be more aggressive than other types, there is a combination of treatment approaches that may help improve outcomes.


In most instances of glioblastoma, the goal is to begin treatment by removing as much of the tumor as possible. Since this type of tumor has a rich blood supply and finger-like projections, it is unlikely the tumor will be completely removed. The goal is to reduce the amount of cancerous tumor remaining that will need to be fought-off with other treatment methods and reduce any complications directly associated with the tumor. When a tumor of any sort, especially malignant ones, grows within the brain, it increases pressure within the skull. Depending on the exact location of the tumor, your doctor might recommend trying a different treatment before removing the tumor if surgery would be riskier than helpful or skipping surgery altogether.


Radiation is frequently used shortly after surgery to help destroy residual cancer cells in the brain. In some cases, radiation therapy might be the first-line approach if surgery is not possible or must be delayed to determine if radiation helps shrink the tumor and make it safer to remove. Most instances of radiation for glioblastoma are performed externally. This requires precise measurements, especially when trying to avoid damage to surrounding tissue in the brain. In some cases, radiation may be performed internally. During a surgical procedure, small pellets or seeds of radiation are placed at the site of the residual tumor. This allows a highly targeted dose of radiation to help destroy small amounts of tumor that could not be removed.


Usually, after radiation therapy, chemotherapy is recommended. Depending on the results of surgery and radiation, chemotherapy might be prescribed in cycles. Having chemo in cycles can be especially helpful because it allows more time for you to rest and recover between doses. Often when chemo is administered in cycles, you might have several back-to-back days of treatment before cycling off chemo for several weeks.

One of the concerns with chemotherapy and any type brain cancer is the blood-brain barrier. This is a natural defense mechanism that inhibits most substances and pathogens from making it to the brain. Unfortunately, this natural defense can also limit the range of chemotherapy options that are capable of making it to the brain to kill cancer cells. In addition to standard infusions of chemotherapy, some patients may receive wafers that are soaked in a chemotherapy drug and placed at the site of cancer. This may be more effective than standard chemotherapy and has fewer systemic side effects.

Although glioblastoma is a difficult diagnosis, it is a specialty in cancer research that is evolving. A combination of current treatment approaches and emerging ones can give people diagnosed with glioblastoma a better prognosis. To learn more, contact a brain cancer center near you. 

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I have always been one of those people who is overly concerned about parenting effectively, but a few weeks ago, I realized that my kids were really struggling with their health. They just weren't getting as much exercise as they needed, and it was really hard to watch them struggle with weight-related issues at such a young age. Fortunately, by working with our health team, we were able to create a treatment plan to improve each of our kid's lives. Check out this website for more information on helping kids live healthier, longer lives while enjoying the way they feel.


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