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What Factors Affect Glioblastoma Survival?

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  • Written By: Marlene Garcia
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 07 November 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Sex and age represent the two most important factors that determine glioblastoma survival rates. Studies show younger patients and women live longer than older patients and men diagnosed with this form of brain cancer. Long-term survival rates for these brain tumors are defined as more than five years. Only between 10 and 30 percent of patients with glioblastoma achieve long-term survival. Patients who suffer seizures from the disease die more quickly.

Numerous studies attempted to determine factors that affect glioblastoma survival, taking into account occupational, environmental, and genetic risks. The studies found none of these variables determine survival three years past diagnosis. All patients in the research underwent surgery to remove the malignant tumor, plus radiation therapy, which is standard post-operative treatment. Most patients also received chemotherapy.

Glioblastoma multiforme represents a primary tumor of the brain that affects the central nervous system. It is considered the most deadly form of brain cancer because abnormal cells grow rapidly. Only a small percentage of brain tumors fit into the glioblastoma category, which can appear in the brain stem or spinal cord. It typically affects people over the age of 50, and most die within a year, making gliobastoma survival rates lower than all other types of cancer.

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Symptoms typically include headache that might be severe and may cause seizures. Patients with these brain tumors might also exhibit speech problems and loss of vision, depending on the exact location of the tumor. In some patients, a marked change in personality occurs.

Diagnosing brain cancer commonly involves scanning with highly sensitive equipment that projects a three-dimensional image of the brain, enhanced by a harmless dye injected into the bloodstream. Biopsies are commonly done when the tumor is removed to determine if it is malignant. Doctors typically test for other conditions when a brain tumor is found, such as failure of other vital organs.

Neurosurgeons routinely attempt to excise the entire tumor without damaging the patient’s ability to function. Glioblastoma survival might not increase with the use of oral chemotherapy and radiation therapy, but it may improve quality of life and short-term survival. Long-term glioblastoma survival is defined as modest after treatment, with only three to five percent of patients living more than three years. Those who suffer seizures from the tumor typically live about six months after surgery.

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