Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is an aggressive multi-celled brain tumour that rapidly attacks the brain. There are many types of brain tumours, and GBM is the most aggressive. Because of this, signs and symptoms of the cancer show up relatively quickly before a diagnosis is sought. If a patient exhibits symptoms, their doctor may conduct a series of tests to rule out other health issues and may refer them to a neuro specialist.

Signs of GBM

The symptoms of GBM are similar to other health conditions; however, more specific symptoms are indicative of the location of the tumour. Generally, a GBM is asymptomatic until it reaches a certain size, making it difficult to detect early on. According to the Cancer Treatment Center of America, signs of GBM include:

  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite
  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty speaking, memory loss
  • Difficulty thinking clearly or learning
  • Seizures
  • Change in personality and mood

Stages of GBM

GBM is part of the Glioma tumour group, which is defined as a brain tumour that is located in the brain or spine. There are three types of Gliomas: Astrocytomas, Ependymomas, Oligodendrogliomas. GBM is a subtype of astrocytoma. These tumours can grow slowly or quickly, but no matter what type of glioblastoma, both are aggressive. Before producing any symptoms, the tumour will have already largely formed in the white matter of the brain.

There is yet no known cause of GBM; however, some risk factors have been identified, such as age, exposure to radiation, and genetics. GBM is more common in people over 45 and in men. If your family has a history of GBM, it’s important to see your doctor if you begin experiencing the above signs. Although it is rare for GBM to run in families, your chances of forming GBM are doubled, according to the Mayo Clinic.