NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Glioblastoma is the most aggressive form of brain cancer there is.
“Unfortunately only about twenty-five percent of people are alive two years after the diagnosis. Only five to ten percent are alive five years after the diagnosis,” said Dr. Morgan Stuart, a neurosurgeon at Roper St. Francis.
Glioblastomas are malignant brain tumors found primarily in the left or right hemisphere, but they can grow anywhere in the brain and they don’t discriminate.
“There is a predominance in the male population versus the female, and a little trend toward older age, but the disease can really affect anyone,” Stuart said.
There is no known cure and it’s not an easy disease to treat.
“Typically, the first line of treatment is surgery, if we can safely remove the vast majority of the tumor we know that gives you the best chance at prolonged survival. Following surgery, treatment involves an oral chemotherapy agent, and radiation therapy to the brain,” Stuart said.
Even with treatment, the patient is only expected to live about fifteen to eighteen months after the diagnosis. With such a grim prognosis, some doctors will urge patients enroll in clinical trials.
“Usually there comes a point where we encourage patients to explore the potential to enroll in clinical trials, trying some kind of novel treatment, just to enhance their chances of prolonged survival,” Stuart said.
While the prognosis is almost not good, it is an extremely rare disease. It only affects about three in every 100,000 people.