7 glioblastoma myths

Glioblastoma is the most common and aggressive primary brain tumor in adults. Although it’s considered a rare cancer, with about 12,000 new diagnoses each year, it’s gained increased visibility recently with the diagnoses of a few high-profile people.  As a neuro-oncologist and the clinical medical director of MD Anderson’s Brain and Spine Center, part of my job is to make sure glioblastoma patients and their families understand this disease and how it will affect them. Unfortunately, as I’ve learned, there are many myths and misconceptions about glioblastoma. Here’s the truth about seven glioblastoma myths I commonly hear. 1. Myth: Cell phones cause glioblastoma. Fact: Cell phones don’t cause brain cancer. Several different studies have failed to find clear evidence of a link between cell phone use and brain cancer. The number of people diagnosed with glioblastoma has remained largely stable over the past decade, while cell phone use has continued to increase. 2. Myth: There’s nothing you can do for an “inoperable” glioblastoma. Fact: A tumor that’s considered “inoperable” at a hospital without specialized brain tumor programs may actually be operable if you seek treatment at a cancer center with the right expertise. Here at MD Anderson, our neurosurgeons successfully operate on many patients who thought their tumors were inoperable. We treat glioblastoma patients every day and have a great deal of experience and expertise in safely removing tumors. This includes glioblastomas involving brain regions responsible for important functions, such as language or movement. Certain brain tumors that cannot be safely surgically removed may qualify for laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT). This minimally invasive surgical procedure uses thermal heat to destroy...