Glioblastoma, also known as glioblastoma Multiforme, GBM or grade IV astrocytoma, is a fast-growing, aggressive type of central nervous system tumor that forms on the supportive tissue of the brain. Glioblastoma is the most common grade IV brain cancer. Glioblastomas may appear in any lobe of the brain, but it develops more commonly in the frontal and temporal lobes. Glioblastoma usually affects adults, and is more common in adults 50 or older.
Symptoms of glioblastoma vary depending on the location of the tumor, but they may include:
- Persistent headaches
- Double or blurred vision
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Changes in mood or personality and/or changes in ability to think and learn
- Memory loss
- New onset of seizure
- Muscle weakness
- Speech difficulty
Brain cancer does not behave in the same way as other cancers. Tumors may migrate within the brain, but it is very rare for primary brain tumors to spread outside of the brain, or away from the central nervous system (CNS).
Consequently, brain cancer is usually graded rather than staged. Brain cancer grading is much different than staging other cancers in the body. Cancers in the lung, colon and breast are staged based on their location in the body, size, lymph node involvement, and possible spread. Tumors in the brain are graded based on how aggressive the tumor cells appear under a microscope.