Unless your life has been touched by it, you most likely do not know what it is. One of the most deadly forms of cancer, is Brain Cancer, and of those, Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) has been known as The Terminator. With an average historical survival rate of roughly a year, with the 3 year survival rate at roughly 7%, it is no small wonder it was tagged with that nickname. Recent medical breakthroughs are beginning to catch up with many more “common” strains of Cancer. Caught early enough, once feared cancers are responding to treatment, and with the combination of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, people have had reasons to be optimistic, that they can actually look forward to a cure. Better diagnostic methods, treatment, and understanding the value of nutrition to boost the body’s immune system to not only prevent, but help fight the disease. These promising advances, along with celebrities who come forward with their experiences of survival, and have gone on with their lives, gives people the hope and courage to face the issues involved with treatment and recovery.
With virtually no advances for 30 or so years, Brain Cancer treatment, including GBM, which been treated as a chronic illness, has seen some remarkable progress recently. The use of surgery, where possible, certain chemotherapeutic drugs, along with radiostatic treatments, has resulted in a steady increase in the median survival rate, and better quality of life during treatment.
I was diagnosed with GBM in June of 2007. It was surgically resected (removed) almost immediately. After a wait of about 6 weeks (during which time I was encouraged by my Neurosurgeon to take a previously scheduled vacation with my wife), I began a series of focused Radiostatic treatments 5 days a week, for 42 treatments. This focused treatment was preceded by a computer mapping and simulation program. Concurrent with the treatments I was prescribed Temodar, an oral chemotherapeutic. Once that treatment was over, I continued on Temodar 5 days a month for a year. Two and a half years later, there are no signs of the tumor. Attitude, my faith in God, the Good fortune of being blessed with a capable medical team, and a support system of friends and family, are all part of the reason I am able to update this article today.
The latest advances have been in the area of a specific treatment based on the chemical and material make-up of each individual tumor. The good news is that progress is indeed being made, and it appears we may be able to find a cure for this horrible disease in our lifetimes.