Last stages of glioblastoma

Updated February 21, 2017

Glioblastoma multiforme is a type of brain cancer that involves the glial cells. This is one of the most aggressive and deadly form of brain cancers. According to the International Radiosurgery Assocation, glioblastomas make up 23 per cent of the brain tumours in the United States. It is usually seen in people between the ages of 45 and 74. Glioblastomas are considered type IV tumours, the most difficult to treat. Though your doctor may try to operate, death is a likely outcome for people with this type of cancer.

Stage IV

The final stage of any cancer is called Stage IV. For people with glioblastomas, Stage IV is defined when the cancer spreads beyond the tumour and into other nearby brain tissue. In this stage, the tumour will then begin to grow at an accelerated rate because the blood vessels in the new tissue will be supplying it with more blood. With this new supply of oxygen, the tumour can now grow bigger and bigger. In the centre of the tumour, all of the normal cells will be dead, while the malignant cells continue to grow on the peripheries.


By the time this cancer has reached Stage IV, the patient will not be lucid. It is likely they will not be coherent, and pain will be extreme. In order to treat this intense pain, the doctor may keep the patient under sedation or even induce a coma in severe situations. The patient's memory will probably no longer exist, making recognising close family members impossible. This will be a distressing time for the patient and his family members. As the tumour grows bigger, the symptoms will worsen, and the patient will eventually die.

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About the Author

David Harris is a writer living in Portland, Ore. He currently is the editor-in-chief of the online magazine Spectrum Culture. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College.