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Your Healthy Family: The basics of the 4 stages of brain tumors - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Your Healthy Family: The basics of the 4 stages of brain tumors and available treatments

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There are 4 different types of malignant brain tumors from the World Health Organization.  As the number or grade increases from 1 to 4, the pace of cancer cell growth increases. There are 4 different types of malignant brain tumors from the World Health Organization. As the number or grade increases from 1 to 4, the pace of cancer cell growth increases.
COLORADO SPRINGS -

The brain cancer diagnosis of glioblastoma has been in the headlines in the wake of Senator John McCain’s recent diagnosis the he describes as ‘very poor”.  In this story we will go over the very basics of the 4 grades of brain tumors and the treatments available for them. 

When it comes to this most aggressive form of brain cancer, Dr. Robert Hoyer a Hematologist  and Oncologist with UCHealth Memorial in Colorado Springs says it’s the worst kind of brain tumor a person can suffer.

“There are 4 different types of malignant brain tumors from the World Health Organization.  As the number or grade increases from 1 to 4, the pace of cancer cell growth increases.  The grade 1 tumors for example, are treated with surgery and can be cured.  Whereas patients with higher grade tumors such as the grade 4, what we also call a glioblastoma multiforme is the most aggressive form of brain tumor.  It’s also not curable with surgery or any other treatments available to us at this time.”

Doctor Hoyer also adds that the short term treatment options are few.  “There are only 4 drugs currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and one device approved to be used for the treatment of patients with these diseases.  While we can’t cure the disease we can help to improve the quality of life as best as possible, and help patients continue to be active and have more time with their families and friends."

While Dr. Hoyer doesn’t know any of the specifics of Senator McCain's case, he does say in general when someone who is a well known public figure is diagnosed, it can help move much needed research forward.  “Beau Biden's death (for example) did raise a lot of awareness and was part of the Cancer Moonshot Program that is a huge research program funded to promote clinical research and genomic testing of cancer.  Certainly Senator McCain’s case also highlights the need for more more research.  We are seeing the benefits of research in many areas of oncology like lung cancer and melanoma where we are seeing a lot of new treatments emerge.  We really haven't had much for brain tumor patients so we're hopeful that increased research funding and more more awareness what will help in the fight.”

In general Dr. Hoyer adds that once treatment of glioblastoma begins the tumor is usually keep the in check, or may even shrink for about a year on average and there are certainly exceptions in both directions on the time line.

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