What Happens in the Final Stages of Glioblastoma?

In the final stages of glioblastoma, patients often are not able to perform daily tasks, such as getting out of bed and walking, according to Dr. Andrew Turrisi via Healthtap. A patient may also lose bladder and bowel control. Neurological difficulties such as epileptic seizures and cognitive dysfunction may arise at any point in patients with glioblastoma, including the final stages, adds Dr. Morton Levitt.

A glioblastoma multiforme is a high-grade form of cancerous brain tumor, states Everyday Health. In adults, it is the most common form of primary brain tumor, which is a tumor that begins in the brain rather than spreading there from somewhere else in the body. Anyone can get a glioblastoma, but they most commonly occur in adults older than 50 years of age. Children with the tumor are typically diagnosed at 9 or 10 years old.

Symptoms of a glioblastoma depend on the location of the tumor, but can include seizures, localized paralysis, dizziness and behavioral changes, according to Everyday Health. In children, symptoms can mimic those of adults and may also include fatigue, headache, and neuro-endocrine system abnormalities.

Glioblastomas grow and spread very quickly, states the American Brain Tumor Association. Treatment is difficult because certain cells in the tumor may respond to one type of therapy while others are not affected. Treatment may include surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy. With standard treatment, median survival for adults is typically two to three years. Children tend to have longer median survival.