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Glioblastoma is a type of abnormal tissue mass (tumor) that can develop in the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system). This type of tumor is also called glioblastoma multiforme or grade 4 astrocytoma. Glioblastoma tumors are made up of an overgrowth of glial cells of the brain called astrocytes. This type of cancer can grow very quickly and is the most common type of cancerous (malignant) brain tumor in adults.
A tumor is formed when astrocytes grow and divide more than normal and form into a mass of tissue. What makes the cells grow and divide excessively is not known.
Symptoms are most commonly caused by increased pressure in the brain.
This condition is diagnosed based on a medical history and a physical exam, including a neurological exam. Brain imaging tests will also be done, such as a CT scan or MRI. A sample of the tumor will be taken and studied in a lab (biopsy) to confirm the diagnosis. Glioblastomas are high-grade tumors, which means they are fast growing.
Steroid medicines may be given to decrease brain swelling and improve symptoms. Other medicines may also be given to treat or prevent seizures.
Your health care provider may also refer you to physical, occupational, or speech therapy, or a combination of these therapies, as part of your treatment.
Glioblastomas can come back after treatment. If you have a glioblastoma that comes back, you may need additional treatment.
These symptoms may represent a serious problem that is an emergency. Do not wait to see if the symptoms will go away. Get medical help right away. Call your local emergency services (911 in the U.S.). Do not drive yourself to the hospital.
This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.
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