Treating Rare Brain Cancer Close to Home
Many of us heard about glioblastoma when Senator John McCain was diagnosed with it. Congress recently designated July 17th as Glioblastoma Awareness Day to educate the public about the disease and to honor those who have battled it.
The most common type of malignant brain tumor among adults, glioblastoma is usually very aggressive, which means it can grow fast and spread quickly. The cancer forms from star-shaped cells in the brain. In adults, this cancer usually starts in the cerebrum, the largest part of your brain. Glioblastoma tumors make their own blood supply, which helps them grow.
Brain cancers as a whole aren’t very common, and when they do occur, most aren’t glioblastomas. There are usually about 14,000 glioblastoma diagnoses in the U.S. each year. Men are more likely to get them than women, and the chances go up with age.
Symptoms of glioblastoma may include constant headaches, seizures, vomiting, changes in mood or personality, double or blurred vision, and having trouble thinking and/or speaking.
Although there isn’t a cure for glioblastoma, Mary Bird Perkins-Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center and the Neuromedical Center of Baton Rouge work together to offer treatments that help ease its symptoms.
There are four treatments, and many patients get more than one type:
- Surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible
- Radiation (usually after surgery) to kill as many leftover tumor cells as possible
- Chemotherapy to slow the tumor’s growth
- Electric field therapy to target cells in the tumor and spare healthy cells
“Together, the Cancer Center and the NeuroMedical Center are helping patients with this rare disease live as comfortably as possible.”
The Cancer Center’s unique treatment for glioblastoma
The Cancer Center and the Neuromedical Center have an outstanding partnership that gives Baton Rouge and the entire Gulf Coast access to world-class treatment and technologies.
One of those technologies is the Gamma Knife Icon. There are only a few Gamma Knife Icons in the nation, and one of them is located at Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center. The Gamma Knife is a completely noninvasive radiosurgery technology that treats the tumor without incisions or pain.
“Our goal in treating glioblastoma is to slow the growth of the tumor,” said Dr. Jon Olson, Baton Rouge’s only board certified neurologist and neuro-oncologist. “Together, the Cancer Center and the NeuroMedical Center are helping patients with this rare disease live as comfortably as possible.”
“As one of just a few facilities in the country that has the Gamma Knife Icon technology, the Cancer Center is able to treat brain tumors without affecting the patient’s healthy brain tissues,” said Koren Smith, a medical physicist at Mary Bird Perkins-Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center. “In most cases, the patient only has to come for treatment once and then they can return home to their oncologist if they are from another area.”
For more information about the Gamma Knife Icon, visit conquerdifferently.org.
STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
Gamma Knife Icon is available at Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center in Baton Rouge. Learn more by visiting conquerdifferently.org, or call 877-756-9418.
- After glioblastoma claimed the life of Senator John McCain, Congress designated July 17th as “Glioblastoma Awareness Day” to educate the public about this most common and aggressive form of brain cancer.
- Glioblastoma is the most common type of malignant brain tumor among adults, and is usually very aggressive, growing fast and spreading quickly.
- There are usually about 14,000 glioblastoma diagnoses in the U.S. each year. Men are more likely to get them than women, and the chances increase with age.
- Mary Bird Perkins-Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center and the Neuromedical Center in Baton Rouge offer one of the only Gamma Knife Icons in the country, which treats the disease’s symptoms and makes life more comfortable for patients.