I have been personally affected by this horrible cancer. That being said, I feel so compelled to inform you even though there is no known cause and thus, no links have been found between Glioblastomas and smoking, consumption of cured meats or electromagnetic fields. A good friend was diagnosed with a Glioblastoma, it was operable but she only survived for about 13 months from the time of diagnosis. We all witness Edward Kennedy’s struggles and his bravery with a brain tumor but eventually he succumb to his disease and it was operable, he apparently had the best treatment which was not enough. Another friend of mine was recently diagnosed with a Glioblastoma but its inoperable, the only thing that can be done is to focus on controlling the symptoms associated with the brain tumor. The symptoms are usually seizures, headaches, nausea, vomiting, significant weight loss, as well as personality or neurological changes. It is important to note that the kind of symptoms produced depends on the location of the tumor.
Glioblastomas appears to be slightly more prevalent in males; age often times is over 50 however, there are cases of diagnosis in patients under 50 and the survival time tends to be longer if the patient is under 50 years; brain tumors are commonly diagnosed in Asians and Whites. Prognosis is poor, with a median survival time of less than 2 years. Over 18,000 individuals in the United States each year are diagnosed with a primary malignant brain tumor and approximately 13,000 die from their brain tumor. Metastatic brain tumors or secondary brain tumors originate from cancer cells in another part of the body and spread to the brain via the bloodstream.
Treatment for Glioblastomas can involve two or more of the following, surgery (if operable), chemotherapy, radiation, radiosurgery, and gene transfer therapy. One area I find most interesting and encouraging for the treatment of a brain tumor is gene transfer therapy because it selectively kills cancer cells and leaves healthy cells virtually untouched or it can at least slow down the growth of the tumor; in my opinion, gene transfer therapy is hope for a cancer with such a poor prognosis. Gene Transfer Therapy has had its share of failures including serious safety concerns and a patient death but there are successes to applaud. Although, patients and family members may stray away from experimental treatment particularly for cancer it is worth reviewing clinical trials. gov http://www.clinicaltrials.gov and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) http://www.cancer.gov to determine treatment options. However, most if not all Oncologists will recommend that surgery be your first step, removal of 98% or more of the tumor can increase your survival and quality of life but total resection can not eliminate disease recurrence.
My friend with an inoperable Glioblastoma, I imagine he only has this year to live. My hope is that the future will bring better therapeutic alternatives for patients with Glioblastomas.