Living with Glioblastoma: An Inside Look at Life with Brain Cancer
Glioblastoma is a type of brain cancer that is one of the most aggressive and difficult-to-treat forms of any cancer. Living with glioblastoma means daily battles with the symptoms and side effects of the cancer, ongoing medical treatments, and emotional stress.
Diagnosis of glioblastoma is often a shock, as it is a rare type of brain cancer that affects only 2-3 in every 100,000 people. The exact cause of this cancer is unknown, but it typically arises in the astrocytes cells in the brain. Symptoms of glioblastoma include headaches, seizures, cognitive impairment, changes in mood, difficulty with balance and coordination, and speech difficulties.
The treatment for glioblastoma is complex and requires a team of healthcare practitioners. Treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy. Surgery is usually the first step in the process, where as much of the tumor as possible is removed. Radiation therapy is often given after surgery to destroy remaining cancer cells. Chemotherapy and targeted therapy may also be used to slow the growth of the tumor.
Living with glioblastoma means ongoing medical appointments and treatments. These can be overwhelming and exhausting. The side effects of treatment can also be uncomfortable and difficult to manage. Common side effects of radiation and chemotherapy include fatigue, hair loss, nausea, and vomiting.
The emotional toll of living with glioblastoma is also significant. Patients and their families may experience feelings of shock, fear, anxiety, and depression. Patients may also feel frustrated, discouraged, or hopeless, especially when treatment options become exhausted.
Despite the challenges of living with glioblastoma, many patients find hope through support from their healthcare team, family, friends, and other cancer survivors. Support groups, counseling, and mindfulness practices such as meditation and journaling can also help patients cope with the stresses of cancer.
In conclusion, living with glioblastoma is a difficult journey that requires courage, resilience, and support. The physical, emotional, and mental challenges can be overwhelming, but with the right support and care, patients can find hope and meaning in their lives. Advances in treatments are also providing new options for patients, bringing a ray of hope into a often-cloudy prognosis.