Brain tumour, glioblastoma

What is a glioma?

A glioma is a brain tumour that starts in the supporting cells of the brain and spinal cord.

These are called glial cells and there are three different types:

  • Astrocytes – Tumours that develop in these cells are known as astrocytomas or glioblastomas.
  • Oligodendrocytes – Tumours that develop in these cells are known as oligodendrogliomas.
  • Ependymal cells – Tumours that develop in these cells are known as ependymomas.

A glioblastoma is a type of glioma.

What causes a glioma?

Gliomas occur due to glial cells multiplying in an abnormal and uncontrollable way. The exact cause of this is unknown but certain risk factors can increase the chances of a brain tumour developing.

These include:

  • Age – Brain tumours can develop at any age but the risk increases as a person gets older.
  • Being overweight or obese – This can increase the risk of certain types of brain tumours developing.
  • Ionising radiation – This is a type of medical radiation that is used by radiotherapy treatments and some scans such as x-rays. In very rare cases this can lead to a brain tumour developing.
  • Family history – The risk of developing a brain tumour is higher if a close relative such as a parent, sibling or child has one.
  • Genetic conditions – Some genetic conditions are known to increase the risk of developing a brain tumour such as tuberous sclerosis, neurofibromatosis type 1 and type 2 and Turner syndrome.

What are the symptoms of glioma?

The symptoms of a glioma can vary depending on the part of the brain or spinal cord that is affected.

Typical symptoms of a brain tumour can include:

  • Changes to personality
  • Difficulties with memory
  • Difficulties communicating
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Decline in cognitive skills that we use for thinking
  • Seizures
  • Learning difficulties
  • Vision problems
  • Nausea
  • Being sick
  • Drowsiness
  • Progressive weakness or paralysis in one side of the body

Although gliomas are rare, if you or a loved one are experiencing two or more of the above symptoms it’s important that you see your GP to rule out a brain tumour.

Are you affected by glioma?

If you’re affected by glioma, The Brain Charity can support you.

We are the only charity in the UK to be here for every one of the more than 600 different neurological conditions in existence. Individually, many are rare, but combined, they affect 1 in 6 people.

We provide practical help on all aspects of living with glioma, emotional support such as counselling, phone befriending and group therapy and social activities to people with glioma and their family, friends and carers from all over the UK from our centre in Liverpool.

Looking to talk to someone?

Woman smiling, making eye contact and holding the hand of another woman to comfort her

Phone us

Contact The Brain Charity now

Our friendly Information & Advice Officers are here to help. We endeavour to respond to all enquiries within 10 working days.

0151 298 2999

Looking to talk to someone?

  • Please tell us which neurological condition you are affected by and what you need support with.

Caring for someone with glioma

We support carers, friends and family too

Are you a carer for or relative of someone with glioma? It’s just as important for you to look after your own physical and mental wellbeing too.

The Brain Charity provides free support for carers, friends and family of people with any form of neurological condition, including glioma, from anywhere in the UK.

We also run an additional carers advocacy service for all carers in Liverpool, regardless of which type of condition the person they care for has.

You don’t need to be a formal or registered carer

We can help you even if you don’t view yourself as a formal carer or claim Carer’s Allowance. Find out some of the ways we support carers below.

Other resources

The Brain Charity's library

The Brain Charity’s library has a range of resources on glioma and on many other related neurological conditions

Support groups

The Brain Tumour Charity Liverpool support group

Provides the opportunity to meet others who are going through the same thing and to share experiences. Health and social care professionals also often attend the groups to give expert information.


Phone: 07519 579 260 or 0160 645 357


The Brain Tumour Charity Northwich Support Group

Living with a Brain Tumour Diagnosis

A Facebook group that gives those who have been diagnosed with a brain tumour the opportunity to connect, share experiences and support each other.


Phone: 0808 800 0004


Carers Community

A Facebook group that gives those who are caring for someone that has received a brain tumour diagnosis the opportunity to connect, share experiences and support each other.


Phone: 0808 800 0004


Support groups at The Brain Charity

The Brain Tumour Charity Liverpool support group meets on the final Monday of each month (except Bank Holidays) from 1–3pm at The Brain Charity.

Are you interested in setting up a glioma support group, or do you already run one? Email to let us know.

Alternatively, you can check out our list of related support groups here.

Other charities

The Brain Tumour Charity

Brain Tumour Support