Determining Your Best Treatment for Glioblastoma

Oct 01, 2023
Determining Your Best Treatment for Glioblastoma
A glioblastoma diagnosis is overwhelming and frightening, but understanding your treatment options helps you make informed decisions about your care. Read on to learn more about those options and how to determine your best course of care.

Around 12,000 people in the United States are diagnosed each year with glioblastoma, a highly aggressive form of brain cancer. Treatment requires a multidisciplinary approach involving neurosurgeons, oncologists, and radiation specialists.

The skilled physicians at Alabama Neurological Surgery & Spine in Birmingham, Alabama, are committed to helping patients navigate this complex journey toward the most effective treatment plan for glioblastoma. This blog aims to help you determine how to move forward after receiving a diagnosis. 

Understanding glioblastoma

Glioblastoma is the most common primary malignant brain tumor in adults. It originates from glial cells in the brain and is known for its rapid growth and invasion into surrounding brain tissue. 

The cause of glioblastoma still isn’t fully understood, making prevention nearly impossible. So early detection is key in developing an effective treatment strategy.

The sooner doctors identify glioblastoma, the more treatment options are available and the better the chances of success. Common symptoms of a tumor include persistent headaches, seizures, cognitive changes, and personality alterations. If you or a loved one experiences these symptoms, seek medical attention promptly.

Multidisciplinary care, multiple treatments

Glioblastoma treatment is highly specialized and typically involves a team of medical professionals, including neurosurgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, and neurologists. These experts work collaboratively to tailor a treatment plan to the specific needs of each patient.

A customized care plan may include:


Surgical removal of the tumor is often the first step in glioblastoma treatment. Neurosurgeons aim to remove as much of the tumor as possible without causing further damage to essential brain functions. Complete removal is often impossible due to the tumor's invasive nature.

Radiation therapy

After surgery, your treatment team commonly recommends radiation therapy to target any remaining cancer cells. This treatment can slow the tumor's growth and alleviate symptoms.


Chemotherapy, administered orally or intravenously, is often used in conjunction with radiation therapy. It targets cancer cells throughout the body and may help delay tumor progression.

Tumor-treating fields (TTFields)

This innovative therapy uses electromagnetic fields to disrupt cancer cell division. Patients wear a device on their scalp that delivers low-intensity electrical fields to the tumor site, hindering its growth.

Determining your best treatment

The best treatment for glioblastoma is highly individualized and depends on various factors, including the tumor's size, location, genetic characteristics, and your overall health. To determine the most appropriate course of action, your health care team conducts thorough evaluations and assessments.

Make sure you and your family actively participate in treatment decisions. Ask questions, seek second opinions, and educate yourself about the available options so you can make informed choices that align with your goals and values.

Finding quality of life

Living with glioblastoma can be physically and emotionally challenging, and palliative care and support services are important parts of any treatment plan. These services aim to improve a patient's quality of life, manage symptoms, and provide emotional support to patients and their families.

A glioblastoma diagnosis is undeniably scary, but advances in medical science are continually improving treatment options and outcomes. At Alabama Neurological Surgery & Spine, we’re dedicated to providing comprehensive care and guidance to glioblastoma patients and their families.

Schedule an appointment today by calling our office or using our online request form.