Bülent Yapicilar, MD
Neurosurgery & Cerebrovascular, Spinal, and Brain Tumor Neurosurgery located in Tyson Corner, Vienna, VA & Woodbridge, VA
Glioblastoma is an aggressive malignant brain tumor that accounts for 15% of all newly diagnosed brain tumors every year. At Nova Neuroscience, Bülent Yapicilar, MD, has extensive experience diagnosing and treating glioblastomas using his surgical skill combined with radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and advanced options such as tumor treating fields therapy. When you need a skilled neurosurgeon to fight a fast-growing tumor like a glioblastoma, call one of the offices in Vienna or Woodbridge, Virginia, or schedule an appointment online.
Glioblastoma Q & A
What is glioblastoma?
Glioblastoma, also called glioblastoma multiforme, is one of the most common malignant brain tumors. Though glioblastoma may spread from the brain to the spinal cord, or originate in the spinal cord, it rarely appears in the spine.
Glioblastoma tumors begin in glial cells, which are all the brain cells that aren’t neurons. Glial cells provide vital support for neurons. For example, some insulate neurons and regulate the speed of nerve signals, and others control the uptake of neurotransmitters.
Glial cells called astrocytes give rise to cancerous tumors called astrocytomas. Glioblastoma is a grade 4 astrocytoma. This is an extremely aggressive cancer that grows quickly and spreads rapidly.
What symptoms develop due to glioblastoma?
The growing tumor presses against the nearby nerves, blood vessels, and other structures. As a result, you develop edema (a fluid buildup) and symptoms such as:
- Persistent headaches
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blurred or double vision
- Behavioral changes
- Memory loss
- Difficulty walking
- Difficulty speaking
- Tingling or weakness in your arms or legs
The most common symptoms — headaches, nausea, vomiting, and seizures — occur due to pressure from the tumor. The other symptoms that may appear depend on the area of your brain affected by the glioblastoma.
How is a glioblastoma treated?
During your initial evaluation, Dr. Yapicilar reviews your symptoms, performs a neurological exam, and orders diagnostic imaging such as a CT scan and MRI of your head. You may also need imaging of your chest or abdominal cavity if metastatic brain cancer is suspected.
Dr. Yapicilar typically recommends surgical removal of the tumor. However, glioblastomas are widespread and have finger-like projections that infiltrate the brain, so the entire tumor is seldom excised during surgery.
For this reason, glioblastoma treatment also includes radiation and chemotherapy to slow down the tumor’s growth. Following surgery and radiation, Dr. Yapicilar may combine chemotherapy with tumor treating fields (TTF) therapy.
TTF stops the growth of glioblastoma and destroys the cancer cells using low-intensity electrical currents. In this non-invasive treatment, you wear ceramic discs on your head that create the electrical fields.
Another type of therapy called targeted treatment is an option for some patients. This type of treatment uses biologic medication that binds with receptors on the cancer cells and stops their growth.
If you experience headaches, nausea, vomiting, and/or seizures, call Nova Neuroscience or book an appointment online.