Glioblastomas are grade IV tumors because they grow rapidly. They are also known as Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) and Grade IV Astrocytoma tumors.
Treatment consists of surgery to make a diagnosis (by biopsy), relieve pressure, and safely remove as much tumor as possible. The amount of debulking that can be done depends on how far the tumor invades into the surrounding normal brain. The tumors that invade surrounding normal brain can be very difficult to remove completely. Radiation therapy almost always follows surgery or biopsy. Radiation therapy affects cells that divide quickly. This causes more damage to tumor cells than to normal brain cells (most brain cells are not actively dividing).
The most common type of radiation is given in several treatments over a few weeks, using external beam or standard radiation. There are also other ways to give radiation therapy. Chemotherapy may also be used to treat brain tumors. Your doctor will discuss the best treatment choices with you.
Glioblastomas can be found anywhere in the brain or spinal cord. Because gliobastomas can grow rapidly, the most common symptoms, usually due to increased pressure in the brain, can include headache, nausea, vomiting, and drowsiness. Depending on the location of the tumor, patients can develop a variety of other symptoms such as weakness or sensory changes on one side of the body, seizures, memory or language problems, and visual changes.