What is glioblastoma (GBM)?
As you learn about GBM, it's helpful to know about your central nervous system, which is made up of the brain and spinal cord. Both play important roles in controlling different functions of your body. The brain is a spongy mass of cells that is protected by the skull. It's a complex organ that controls your emotions, thoughts, speech, physical coordination, vision, hearing, movement, and sensation. The spinal cord is a long mass of nerves that extends from the brainstem down the spine and controls movement and sensation.
Glioblastoma is also called grade IV astrocytoma, or GBM. It is a mass of abnormal cells that has grown out of control, forming a tumor in the brain or spinal cord. GBM is usually fast growing and is the most common type of primary brain tumor. It can develop in any area of the brain, and like most brain cancers, GBM can spread through the brain tissue, but rarely spreads to other areas outside of the central nervous system.
All GBM tumors have abnormal and numerous blood vessels, a common feature of a fast-growing tumor. These blood vessels deliver necessary oxygen and nutrients to GBM tumors, helping them grow and spread. In addition, these blood vessels easily mix with normal brain tissue and travel away from the main tumor, which makes GBM tumors a challenge to treat.
This guide provides information about GBM, practical tips to help you cope, and valuable support resources for you and your family.Download the guide now