Treatment for Glioblastoma (GBM)

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GBMs happen fast. These aggressive tumors grow and adapt. They’re complex, invading, threatening, and recurring. If you’ve been diagnosed with a GBM, you may feel afraid and unsure what to do. We’re here for you, whatever you’re feeling.

We may not have a cure for GBM. But, at UVA Health, we do believe in helping you live longer and better. We strive to use everything possible to enhance your life. We create close relationships with you and your family.

GBM Treatment at UVA Health

Our doctors and scientists are leaders in cancer care who define new treatments and push the boundaries of research. And our surgeons are recognized nationwide for their expertise in tumor removal. Everyone works hand in hand to deliver highly personalized care with the goal of maintaining your quality of life.

If you have a complex case, it will be reviewed by our weekly tumor board. This is a meeting of experts from across all cancer specialties at UVA Health. They'll look at your case from every angle. They then recommend the approach that will give you the best possible outcome.

All the Tools in the Toolbox

At UVA Health, you’ll meet a team passionate about getting an edge on your GBM. We use all the tools in the toolbox and from outside the box, too, including:

  • The latest devices and tech in the operating room
  • Nationally recognized, highly skilled surgeons
  • Our up-to-date knowledge of the latest research and medical treatments
  • Clinical trials that give you access to cutting edge treatments
  • A world-class team of doctors for every aspect of your care

You can rest assured that we’re doing everything we can on your behalf. You’ll have our whole team applying all their knowledge and training to your care.

Surgery for Tumor Removal

We can remove almost all of a GBM in many circumstances. But it will still come back. So why do surgery?

Surgery can help you live longer AND reduce agonizing symptoms, like:

  • Headaches
  • Memory loss
  • Personality disorders
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Seizures

Radiation, Medications, & Other Options

Treatments that also make a difference include:

  • Radiation to shrink the size of the tumor
  • Chemotherapy can increase survival time and quality of life
  • Steroids to reduce brain swelling
  • Medication to treat and prevent seizures
  • Pain management
  • Optune, a device that uses electrical energy to slow tumor growth

Clinical Trials

We also research new approaches to treating GBM in clinical trials. If you have a brain tumor, you’ll want care from an institution that can get you into the best clinical trials.

At UVA, we run our own clinical trials. But we also participate in national investigations. This increases your options for getting the latest treatment. If we know of a clinical trial that would help you, we’ll work to get you in it, even if it’s not ours. Your health truly sets the priority for everything we do.

Search "glioblastoma" for current clinical trials.

Second Opinions

We strongly believe in the treatments we offer to our patients. In fact, we often give second opinions and consultations to patients and doctors throughout the region and beyond.

Learn more about getting a second opinion for a brain tumor.

Tumor Board

At UVA, every person with a GBM can benefit from a tumor board review. Before we finalize complex treatment plans, the tumor board gathers experts from all the cancer specialties. Together, we look at your case from all angles.

How the Whole Team Helps

As a patient at UVA, you’ll benefit from a cohesive, integrated team. We aim to get a 360-degree understanding of your disease and its impact on your life.

This means that clinic visits can include not just cancer doctors and surgeons, but also specialists in palliative care, social workers, and pharmacists. Behind the scenes, top notch radiologists and pathologists are working to provide your cancer doctors with the best information to better treat you.

We treat you like our family, the way we’d want to be treated. We’re here to answer your questions day and night, and are with you every step of the way.

Social Workers: Relieving Burdens

It can be tough to live with a brain tumor. From the shock and fear of a diagnosis, to dealing with medications and seizures, you may struggle under a lot of pressure.

Our social workers and psychiatrists help relieve your burdens. You can see us for emotional strain of all kinds. We can connect you to support groups and resources.

You’ll discover that both surgeons and social workers will get on the phone with an insurance company. If we need to make a case to get your costs covered, we will.

Nurses: Answering Your Call

We do our best to schedule all your appointments to limit the number of times you have visit the cancer center. Making the experience as comfortable and convenient as possible is one of our aims.

Our nurses also commit to answering your phone calls, at any time. We aim to give you responsive, honest, nurturing care. You don’t need to ever feel helpless or alone.

Medical Students & Residents: Extra Pairs of Eyes

A teaching and research hospital doesn’t mean we forfeit care. Only our most experienced experts perform brain tumor surgery.

Like all academic research hospitals, we have medical students and residents in the room. Their presence offers several advantages. More professionals means you get extra attention.

You’ll have more opportunities to ask questions. They provide an extra set of eyes and ears, listening and understanding your condition and challenges.

See all the available cancer support services.