For many people in California, glioblastoma is a particularly frightening diagnosis. It is the most deadly form of brain cancer, known for its aggressiveness. Each year, there are around 240,000 cases of brain or nervous system tumors found by doctors. Prominent individuals, including Ted Kennedy, John McCain, and Beau Biden have died from this cancer, as even excellent medical treatment often fails to significantly extend a patient's life.
A glioblastoma is a very aggressive brain tumor that begins in the glial cells supporting and surrounding neurons. The tumor forms from cancerous cells in the brain called astrocytes; like other cancers, they quickly multiply. Many people learn of the existence of a brain tumor when outward symptoms surface. As the tumor grows, it puts pressure on the structures of the brain, leading to headaches, seizures, vision changes, or difficulty speaking. In some cases, people may find that their symptoms improve with treatment.
While glioblastomas are relatively rare, they are still the most common cause of brain cancer. In most cases, the cancer does not spread outside of the brain. Despite extensive studies to look for potential danger signs, no clear cause for the cancer has been discovered. People in their fifties and older are more likely to develop a glioblastoma, and men are also more likely to suffer from this type of cancer. Diagnosis involves imagery of the brain, followed by surgery.
Treatment for glioblastoma is still being explored, as survival rates for this type of cancer are very low. Still, like other progressive diseases, it can be important to have a diagnosis as quickly as possible. Other cancer patients have lost their lives unnecessarily when doctors failed to diagnose their malignancies. People who have suffered worsened health conditions as a result can consult with a medical malpractice attorney about their legal options.