Mother Mistakes Glioblastoma Symptoms for Heat Stroke
- A mother in England, 44, thought the headaches and confusion she was dealing with were related to heat stroke — but it turned out to be a terminal brain tumor.
- Glioblastoma can cause symptoms similar to those associated with heat stroke, like headaches, confusion, and nausea.
- While glioblastoma can be difficult to treat, and a cure is often not possible, there are some really exciting studies currently looking into innovative new treatments.
Shortly afterwards, she was diagnosed with high-grade glioblastoma multiforme after an MRI scan revealed a mass on her brain.Read More
Sykes decided to speak out now because of the record-breaking heat wave much of England is going through, encouraging others to be vigilant about symptoms that could be indicative of larger health issues.
Symptoms of brain cancer really depend on the type of tumor, or glioma, but may include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Confusion/decline in brain function
- Memory loss
- Personality changes/irritability
- Difficulty with balance
- Urinary incontinence
- Vision issues
- Speech difficulties
Brain cancer treatments
Sykes underwent surgery to remove her tumor just a month after she received her diagnosis and is now undergoing treatment to remove the remainder of the cancer.
“So far, I am halfway through a six-week course of radiotherapy and a week into chemotherapy and I feel well,” she told the outlet. “I know this may change but I am very much of the mind of dealing with my diagnosis one day at a time.”
Unfortunately, her diagnosis is still considered terminal. But treatment for glioblastoma has come a long way in recent years.
“Glioblastoma is the most malignant primary brain tumor that we see,” Dr. Henry Friedman, a neuro-oncologist at Duke University Medical Center, told SurvivorNet in a previous interview. “It divides extremely rapidly, has a median survival — meaning half the patients are dying typically in 14 to 17 months after diagnosis, maybe a little bit longer, but it is a very difficult tumor to treat.”
Dr. Henry Friedman explains some of the exciting work researchers are doing in clinical trials for glioblastomas.
Still, Dr. Friendman points out, there are several treatments available, and several exciting new studies in the works — like using modified poliovirus as a treatment. The goal is to inject this into the tumor and cause tumor cells to break up, which can present a target for immune cells to attack.
Current treatments available for brain cancer include:
- Tumor Treating Fields (TTF) Therapy
- Targeted Drug Therapy
There are also clinical trials underway, as mentioned above with the poliovirus treatment, that test new drugs for these difficult tumors. If you are interested in enrolling in a clinical trial, check out SurvivorNet’s Clinical Trial Finder tool.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- Could symptoms I’m experiencing be a type of brain tumor?
- What tests should I undergo if I am experiencing these symptoms?
- What treatment combination is currently recommended?
- Are there any clinical trials I should consider enrolling in?