Learning that you have a glioblastoma is often difficult news to process, but the team at Alabama Neurological Surgery & Spine in Birmingham, Alabama, offers the support you need to move forward. When you’re ready to explore your options and learn more about glioblastoma, call or click to schedule a visit at your earliest opportunity.
Glioblastoma is an aggressive form of cancer affecting the brain or spinal cord. It begins in specialized cells called astrocytes that work to support your nerve cells. Anyone can develop this type of cancer, but it’s most common in older people.
Glioblastoma is characterized by a brain tumor that grows very quickly. While these tumors don’t spread to other organs, they cause considerable issues within the brain, where there is very little room for abnormal cell development.
Symptoms include headaches, speech difficulty, personality changes, seizures, and memory loss. If you notice these changes in yourself or a loved one, schedule a diagnostic exam to determine the cause.
A number of diagnostic tools help determine if you have glioblastoma. The usual starting point is a comprehensive neurological exam, which includes an assessment of your hearing, balance, reflexes, strength, vision, and more.
Imaging tests like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) help your practitioner “see” the interior structures of your brain. Your practitioner will likely recommend a biopsy, which involves removing a small portion of tissue for lab analysis. The results confirm the type of abnormal cells as well as the degree of aggressiveness.
Once you learn you have glioblastoma, beginning treatment should be a top priority. These tumors are fatal if not treated, and death can occur in a mere matter of months.
Radiation therapy is a treatment approach that uses carefully controlled radiation to try and shrink the tumor. While this option can deliver results, radiation alone will not fully remove all areas of the tumor.
Chemotherapy is another option and works by introducing particular drugs that kill cancer cells. There are several ways to administer chemotherapy, and your specialist discusses your options during your office visit. Targeted drug therapy is another approach that uses certain medications to attack the abnormal cells that promote tumor development.
Surgery offers the chance to remove as much of the tumor as possible. However, a complete removal is impossible because glioblastoma tumors grow into healthy brain tissue. Surgery is usually done in conjunction with other therapies.
When you rely on the team at Alabama Neurological Surgery & Spine for care, you have access to the very latest treatment tools and techniques. When you’re ready to learn more about your options, call or click to schedule a visit.