The development of abnormal cells in the brain is brain cancer. Brain cancer occurs in different stages, stage 1, stage 2, stage 3, and stage 4.
The most malignant and incurable brain cancer is at stage 4. Glioblastoma is a stage 4 brain tumor with aggression that is unstoppable.
To understand the 4th stage of brain cancer, one should understand the different stages.
Different Stages Of Brain Cancer
🔶 1st stage of brain cancer: The 1st stage is usually the initial stage where the abnormal brain cells can’t be identified under a microscope. This stage is often curable with surgery.
🔶 2nd stage of brain cancer: The cells look different under the microscope at this stage. It is a stage that may reappear once cured with treatment.
🔶 3rd stage of brain cancer: It is a stage where the abnormal cells are malignant. The brain cells can appear highly unusual under the microscope and spread to different parts of the brain.
🔶 Glioblastoma or the 4th stage of brain cancer: The most rapidly growing abnormal cells happen at stage 4. At this stage, the tumor can spread to different parts of the brain within a short period. At times a small group of dead cells (necrosis) is featured in this stage. As the tumor grows large, it takes up the space in the brain causing pressure to the healthy brain cells. The medium survival rate of Glioblastoma is 15 months. It is initially seen in the frontal and temporal lobes of the cerebral hemispheres in the brain.
Symptoms Of Stage 4 Brain Cancer
Symptoms of stage 4 brain cancer include severe constant headache, vomiting, a vision that is blurred or doubled, a shift in the ability to think and change in one’s mental state, difficulty in speech, and movement loss.
Computed tomography (CT or CAT) and Magnetic resonance Imaging (MRI) are the tools used in the diagnosis of brain cancer.
The chemical profile of the tumor is examined by using Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS).
Primarily, 80% of stage 4 brain cancer occurs in older patients of ages around 64 years. Secondary stage 4 brain cancer may be seen in younger patients of ages around 45 years.
Glioblastoma is defined as the most malignant, necrosis-predisposed, and highly active grade 4 cancer by The World Health Organization.
Men have reported more Glioblastoma than women. Prior therapeutic exposure to radiation, reduced immunity and less susceptibility to allergy are some of the risk factors associated with stage 4 brain cancer.
The survival of Glioblastoma is based on certain factors such as the size, location, the general condition of the patient, advanced age, the presence of two or more diseases at the same time, and having vision at different focal distances.
Treatment Options For Glioblastoma
Options of treatment for Glioblastoma include surgery, along with chemotherapy and radiation. It is unlikely impossible to remove the entire tumor.
Surgery helps in reducing the tumor that may be resistant to chemotherapy and radiation and reduce the pressure in the brain.
Surgery helps in improving the quality of the remaining short period left for the patient.
Craniotomy, the opening of the skull is performed by the surgeons in most cases. Radiation therapy is performed on patients after the surgery is healed.
Radiation therapy helps selectively kill the remaining tumor surrounding the brain. But radiation may be harmful to healthy tissues and cells as it gets exposed too.
The radiation process is repeated for 10 to 30 treatments by which longer survival rates and improved results take place.
Chemotherapy is a process where a special drug is given to patients to kill the tumor cells.
The drug is usually given during radiation therapy and after the therapy during the phase of maintenance.
An alternating electrical field is created by the drug that kills the growth of the tumor cells.
Glioblastoma or stage 4 brain cancer is the most malignant tumor that has a survival rate of 3 months when left untreated.
It is generally seen in men over women. It has been a stable management and outcome of treating Glioblastoma in the last four decades.
Primarily neurologists and physicians refer patients with this condition.
Apart from medical treatments, surgery, and radiation, a team of care coordinators and nurses are of utmost importance for this disease.