Symptoms of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) vary depending on the size and location of the tumour; however, according to the Mayo Clinic and Cancer Center Treatments of America, the most common symptoms of GBM include:

  • Headache, nausea, vomiting
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Confusion and memory loss
  • Vision problems
  • Difficulty holding your bladder
  • Changes in personality or mood
  • Seizures

Headaches are the most common and prevalent symptoms, as they are caused by constant pressure on the brain. These symptoms tend to occur in many other medical conditions, so a diagnosis is the only way to know for sure. In order to get a proper diagnosis, your doctor will perform a craniotomy, which will relieve pressure on your brain and allow them to remove as much as the tumor as possible. This is the first step in GBM treatment. Even removing just a small portion of the tumour can often relieve your most painful symptoms.

Symptomatic Treatments

Many GBM patients undergo treatment to relieve their symptoms in conjunction with surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Symptomatic treatment is mainly characterized as anti-seizure medication or corticosteroids. These treatments specifically address symptoms of seizures and intracranial pressure, headache, and drowsiness.

Symptoms of Radiation Therapy

Symptoms of radiation therapy depend on the frequency, intensity, and location of the radiation. When undergoing radiation therapy, patients may experience some or all of these symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Dry, itchy scalp
  • Loss or thinning of hair
  • Earaches
  • Brain necrosis

Symptoms of Chemotherapy

There are many factors that determine chemotherapy side effects, such as the type of cancer you have, where it is on your body, and the dosage you receive. The most common side effects of chemotherapy include:

  • Fatigue
  • Sores, particularly in the mouth
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Diarrhea, constipation
  • Pain
  • Loss in appetite, which may lead to weight loss
  • Hair loss
  • Nerve damage

It’s important to speak to your physician about any and all side effects you may have.