Glioblastoma (GBM) is a disease that all Americans should care about. It can strike men, women, and children of any age, background, and walk of life. It does not discriminate on gender, socioeconomic status, region, age, or political party. GBM Awareness Day takes place each year on the third Wednesday of July to recognize the impact of this devastating disease and highlight the national need to advance research, raise awareness, and take action to ultimately cure glioblastoma. Learn more about GBM below, including what the National Brain Tumor Society is doing to find better treatments and a cure.
Glioblastoma Facts & Figures
- Glioblastoma (GBM) is one of the most complex, deadly, and treatment-resistant cancers.
- More than 13,000 Americans are expected to receive a GBM diagnosis in 2022.
- GBM accounts for 49.1 percent of all primary malignant brain tumors.
- It is estimated that more than 10,000 individuals in the United States will succumb to glioblastoma every year.
- The five-year survival rate for glioblastoma patients is only 6.8 percent, and the average length of survival for glioblastoma patients is estimated to be only 8 months.
- Survival rates and mortality statistics for GBM have been virtually unchanged for decades.
- Despite first being identified in the scientific literature in the 1920’s, there have only been five drugs and one device ever approved by the FDA for the treatment of glioblastoma.
- None of these treatments have succeeded in significantly extending patient lives beyond a few extra months.
- Some patients have a glioblastoma upon diagnosis (de novo or primary GBM), while other patients’ tumors start as another, lower-grade type of brain tumor and over time progress into a glioblastoma (secondary GBM). A vast majority of GBM diagnoses are de novo.
- Mean age at diagnosis is 64.
- In addition to being life-threatening, GBM – and its harsh treatments – inflict devastation upon the brain, which controls cognition, mood, behavior, and every function of every organ and body part.
- Many patients will lose their ability to work, drive, and a host of other functions that contribute to one’s sense of self and independence.
- Glioblastoma is also one of the more expensive cancers to treat, often leaving patients and families with major financial hardship on top of the burdens of the disease.
- Prominent Americans who’ve been lost to this type of cancer include: Beau Biden (former Attorney General for the state of Delaware and son of President Biden); Gary Carter (Hall of Fame Major League Baseball player); U.S. Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy (Democratic politician); U.S. Senator John McCain (Republican politician and former presidential nominee); and Edward “Tug” McGraw (Major League Baseball player and father of country music star and actor, Tim McGraw).
Despite these daunting facts and figures, there is hope. Science is advancing rapidly and there are promising research strategies moving forward.