Glioblastoma Specialist

Richard B. Kim, MD -  - Neurosurgery

Richard B. Kim, MD

Neurosurgery located in Newport Beach, CA

A glioblastoma is a potentially life-threatening type of brain tumor. Prompt, expert treatment is essential if you have glioblastoma, which board-certified neurosurgeon Richard Kim MD MS Inc provides at his office in Newport Beach, California. Dr. Kim uses advanced techniques and state-of-the-art technologies, including gamma knife radiosurgery, to treat glioblastomas and relieve symptoms. Call the office today for more information or book an appointment online.

Glioblastoma

What is glioblastoma?

A glioblastoma is a type of brain tumor that develops in the astrocyte cells in your brain.

Astrocyte cells are vital to the health of the neurons (nerve cells). They support and nourish your neurons and create scar tissue to repair your brain if you suffer any kind of injury.

As the glioblastoma places increasing pressure on your brain, it can cause symptoms such as:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Seizures
  • Personality changes
  • Weakness on one side of your body
  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty with speech
  • Changes in vision

A glioblastoma is cancerous and can be aggressive, readily spreading into other brain tissues.

What causes glioblastoma?

In the majority of cases, it's not clear why people develop a glioblastoma. There doesn't seem to be a genetic link, as glioblastomas typically develop in people who don't have a family history of cancer or other types of tumors.

The only known causes of glioblastomas are specific genetic conditions, including Li Fraumeni syndrome, Turcot syndrome, and neurofibromatosis type 1. If you have one of these conditions, you can undergo genetic testing to reduce your risk of glioblastoma developing.

To diagnose your condition, Dr. Kim conducts a physical examination, discusses your symptoms, and reviews your medical history. If he suspects you have glioblastoma, you need to undergo a CT or MRI scan so he can see the inner tissues of your brain in detail.

How is glioblastoma treated?

If you have glioblastoma, surgery is usually the first step. Dr. Kim removes as much of the tumor as he can during surgery. However, it might not be possible to remove all the cancerous cells if the glioblastoma is spreading into other parts of your brain.

Following surgery, you're likely to need a course of radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or both. Advanced forms of radiation therapy, such as 3-D conformal radiation therapy and intensity-modulated radiation therapy, use computer technology to ensure precise delivery of the radiation to your brain tumor.

Another technique called conformal proton beam therapy uses protons (the positive parts of atoms) as its source of radiation instead of X-rays. Dr. Kim is also an expert in using highly-focused stereotactic radiation therapy or gamma knife radiosurgery.

Are there medications I can take to treat glioblastoma?

Targeted drug therapies are also available for treating glioblastomas. These medications treat specific abnormalities in the cancer cells. For example, bevacizumab (AvastinĀ®) prevents new blood vessels from forming, which cuts off blood supply to your tumor and results in the death of the tumor cells.

Another innovation is polifeprosan 20 with carmustine (GliadelĀ®), an implantable wafer that releases chemotherapy drugs to remaining cancerous tissue after surgery.

The sooner you start receiving treatment for glioblastoma, the better your prognosis is likely to be, so don't delay. Call the office of Richard Kim MD MS Inc today or book an appointment online.