On July 6th 2017, I was diagnosed with Anaplastic Astrocytoma WHO Grade3. (AA3 for short) A rare type of brain cancer that effects 0.44 per 100,000 persons each year. I have never heard of brain cancer until I was diagnosed with it. As a matter of fact, the day I was being released from the hospital after my surgery, was the same day that Senator John McCain's news came out that he also had it. He has AA4 commonly referred to as GBM (glioblastoma multifome) . The prognosis for this cancer varies greatly. There are so many factors that go into it that it's a crap shoot as to what the individuals prognosis will ultimately be. The molecular make up of the tumor, age, location of the tumor, how much of the tumor they can safely remove, overall health of the individual and many other factors come into play with setting a prognosis. I will spare you of all the research details I have found over the last several months since my diagnosis.The statics I will share with you are directly from the ABTA.Org website. The median survival of GBM is about 14.4 months . The 2 year survival rate is only 30 persons out of 100. At 5 years that number is reduced to 10 persons out of 100. Persons who have AA3 the median survival is about 2-3 years. The 5 year survival rate is 23.6 persons out of 100.
Why is brain cancer so difficult to treat? First, it is protected by the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Which is a great thing to keep potentially harmful substances out of our brains! It is also very good at keeping many types of cancer drugs from reaching the tumor. Secondly, with most other cancers, the surgeons can remove a "margin" of normal tissue around the cancer to ensure they removed all of the cancer. For obvious reasons, they cannot do this to the brain. Also, brain cancer cells do not like to stay put. They have tentacle-like projections that go into the nooks and crannies of the brain in search of nutrients and more space to grow. They can never fully remove the tumor. As my surgeon explained to me, if you take a spatula and remove all of the molasses from the jar that you can with that spatula, there is still residual molasses remaining in that jar. And for my final point, for a high grade tumor, it's not just one cancer that you are up against but multiple different mutations driving different cancer cells within the tumor. In other words, if they are successful at stopping one mutation, the others remain unharmed and continue to grow and spread.
You can support me in my efforts by making a donation to the American Brain Tumor Association.
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And remember, your donation is tax-deductible! You can learn more about the American Brain Tumor Association at www.abta.org. Thank you in advance for your support of my efforts on behalf of brain tumor patients, their families, and the researchers pursuing the breakthroughs.
I signed up for the ABTA BT5K walk/run in Columbus Ohio on June 2nd and created a team. I will be participating as a walker. This is where I ask for your help. Please share this post. If you feel inclined to do so, donate. No amount is too small. You can even sign up as a virtual walker/runner if you live far away. Team OH BOY! (There is a story behind the team name) or my name (Darlene Potochnik). I just started that page so it is a work in progress. Thank you in advance for your support in my endeavor and for reading this far!!! I hope that someday, they will find a way to treat this cancer more effectively than they currently do now, but they can't do it without the help of people like you.