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What is a GBM brain tumor?

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Quick Answer

A GBM brain tumor is a glioblastoma, according to the American Brain Tumor Association. These are brain tumors that come from star-shaped cells in the brain called astrocytes. These cells support the physical structure of the brain.

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GBMs occur in the brain or the spinal cord, but they usually appear in the hemispheres of the brain, says the American Brain Tumor Association. They often contain various materials in addition to cancer cells. They contain calcium deposits, blood vessels, dead cells, or cells that are at different grades of malignancy. GBMs are difficult to treat because they are part of the brain and proliferate among healthy brain cells.

The two types of GBMs are primary or secondary, says the American Brain Tumor Association. The primary tumors are the most common. They grow quickly and are extremely aggressive. Secondary tumors have a slower growth rate and are not as aggressive as primary tumors, though doctors consider them to be aggressive. They usually appear in younger patients.

Medical experts do not know what causes GBMs, according to the American Brain Tumor Association. Because they grow so quickly, they put pressure on the brain that leads to headaches, nausea and vomiting. The patient may also feel drowsy and have other symptoms that resemble stroke, such as weakness on one side of the body and problems with memory or speech.

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