Glioblastoma Multiforme – No Longer an Instant Death Sentence – A Personal Journey

Unless your life has been touched by it, you most likely do not know what it is. One of the most deadly forms of cancer, is Brain Cancer, and of those, Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) has been known as The Terminator. With an average historical survival rate of roughly a year, with the 3 year survival rate at roughly 7%, it is no small wonder it was tagged with that nickname. Recent medical breakthroughs are beginning to catch up with many more “common” strains of Cancer. Caught early enough, once feared cancers are responding to treatment, and with the combination of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, people have had reasons to be optimistic, that they can actually look forward to a cure. Better diagnostic methods, treatment, and understanding the value of nutrition to boost the body’s immune system to not only prevent, but help fight the disease. These promising advances, along with celebrities who come forward with their experiences of survival, and have gone on with their lives, gives people the hope and courage to face the issues involved with treatment and recovery.

With virtually no advances for 30 or so years, Brain Cancer treatment, including GBM, which been treated as a chronic illness, has seen some remarkable progress recently. The use of surgery, where possible, certain chemotherapeutic drugs, along with radiostatic treatments, has resulted in a steady increase in the median survival rate, and better quality of life during treatment.

I was diagnosed with GBM in June of 2007. It was surgically resected (removed) almost immediately. After a wait of about 6 weeks (during which time I was encouraged by my Neurosurgeon to take a previously scheduled vacation with my wife), I began a series of focused Radiostatic treatments 5 days a week, for 42 treatments. This focused treatment was preceded by a computer mapping and simulation program. Concurrent with the treatments I was prescribed Temodar, an oral chemotherapeutic. Once that treatment was over, I continued on Temodar 5 days a month for a year. Two and a half years later, there are no signs of the tumor. Attitude, my faith in God, the Good fortune of being blessed with a capable medical team, and a support system of friends and family, are all part of the reason I am able to update this article today.

The latest advances have been in the area of a specific treatment based on the chemical and material make-up of each individual tumor. The good news is that progress is indeed being made, and it appears we may be able to find a cure for this horrible disease in our lifetimes.

Glioblastoma Multiforme Stage 4 – An Aggressive Form of Brain Cancer

There may be many different forms of brain cancer that can happen to us. However, most of us are quite unaware of the symptoms of brain cancers. It is a tumor formation that occurs within our brain, mainly in the glial cells. It is often known as Glioma. It is considered to be a primary brain cancer (those originating mainly within the brain). It can happen to almost all ages, primarily within the age-group of 50 -70 years, sometimes in young people too. The prognosis of this disease is very bad in case of those, who are very old due to various factors. By prognosis, I mean people life gets shorter due to the impact of this disease.

This particular disease is such that it doesn’t spare you much time, in case you have it. No conventional therapy can cure or eradicate this disease from our body. Those having it, can either go for surgery, followed by chemotherapy & radiotherapy. No matter whatever one does, this is an intelligent form of cancer that becomes resistant against all therapy. Some people are fortunate enough to live quite long, depending on their age. Anyway, I am writing this just in case you want to know about brain cancer.

Typical symptoms are – headache, seizure (fits/convulsion) during sleep, strange behavior, vomiting mainly in the morning. Don’t confuse seizure with stroke. Go for MRI scan or CT scan immediately, if something unusual is found, start taking anti-convulsion medicine. if a tumor is found out, try to know what kind it is. One can do a biopsy in order to see the grade of the tumor- whether benign or malignant, secondly operable or inoperable. One can opt for gamma knife therapy, which is a non-invasive method of removing the tumor. This may be better option than craniotomy, according to me, since this kind of treatment wont be hampering the important regions of the brain. However, one should always consult with 2-3 neurosurgeons in order to understand the impact of each treatment. Also allow the patient to decide, whether he or she would like to be operated or not. It is very unlikely that an operation may help a patient to get rid of this cancer permanently. This is a bitter truth that we all need to accept at this point of time, though various research works on this type of cancer are being conducted in the some of the advanced countries like US, UK, Germany and others. However, a permanent cure has not yet been found out. We can hope that someday, we can get rid of this disease from the lives of several victims of Glioblastoma.