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A diagnosis of a malignant brain tumor is devastating to patients and their families. The patients' inevitable loss of independence, which can occur suddenly or gradually, is tragic, and the eventual complete dependence can be overwhelming to the family and caregivers. Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common type of primary malignant brain tumor in adults and is associated with a disproportionately high mortality rate. The highly malignant tumor grows rapidly and has a tendency to recur through treatment. The brain itself presents a multitude of barriers to treatment, such as tumor location, accessibility for surgery, and the blood-brain barrier's natural protection. Despite access to optimal multimodality treatment, patients diagnosed with GBM have a low survival rate. Patients and families need emotional and practical support throughout the continuum of this devastating disease. Astute neurologic assessment skills and immediate and appropriate interventions are required to maintain the patient's functional status. This article provides an overview of the treatment of GBM and reviews how oncology nurses can intervene to positively improve the quality of life of patients and their families.
Department of Ambulatory Nursing, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Clinical journal of oncology nursing
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A measurement index derived from a modification of standard life-table procedures and designed to take account of the quality as well as the duration of survival. This index can be used in assessing the outcome of health care procedures or services. (BIOETHICS Thesaurus, 1994)
Benign and malignant central nervous system neoplasms derived from glial cells (i.e., astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, and ependymocytes). Astrocytes may give rise to astrocytomas (ASTROCYTOMA) or glioblastoma multiforme (see GLIOBLASTOMA). Oligodendrocytes give rise to oligodendrogliomas (OLIGODENDROGLIOMA) and ependymocytes may undergo transformation to become EPENDYMOMA; CHOROID PLEXUS NEOPLASMS; or colloid cysts of the third ventricle. (From Escourolle et al., Manual of Basic Neuropathology, 2nd ed, p21)
Continuance of life or existence especially under adverse conditions; includes methods and philosophy of survival.
A generic concept reflecting concern with the modification and enhancement of life attributes, e.g., physical, political, moral and social environment; the overall condition of a human life.
Persons who have experienced a prolonged survival after serious disease or who continue to live with a usually life-threatening condition as well as family members, significant others, or individuals surviving traumatic life events.
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