Well, we met with a bunch of doctors today, Dr. Silbergeld and Dr. Gabikian who we’d met before, plus the Attending Radiation oncologist, his Resident, and the Chemotherapy Attending.
Dr. Gabikian removed Mike’s staples (about 50 of them) and sutures, then Dr. Silbergeld talked about the tumor.
Mike has a Primary brain tumor called a Supratentorial Glioma and it is a Grade 2. Gliomas are of two types, Astrocytomas which are made of astrocytes, and Oligodendrogliomas which are made of oligodendrocytes. Mike actually has an Oligoastrocytoma which contains both types of cells, hence the more common name of “mixed glioma”.
A primary brain tumor is one that starts in the brain and does not appear in other parts of the body. Supratentorial means that it is above the tentorium membrane which separates the cerebrum from the cerebellum. A primary brain tumor is, by definition, not cancer. Cancer implies the ability to spread to other parts of the body which brain tumors don’t do.
The doctors said that there is no way to get ALL of the tumor cells out during surgery and as a result there is a 100% chance that the tumor will re-occur but we won’t know how soon.. It could be a year or 10 years. They recommend that Mike watch the tumor with MRI’s every few months for now and see if it’s changing, regrowing, etc. If it starts to come back, then he’ll have to go through radiation treatment to kill the tumor cells but they’d prefer to wait since there are side-effects of the treatment.
Another thing about brain tumors is that they grow by invasion, meaning that they convert good brain cells into tumor cells. Over time, this *could* cause neurological damage but you just never know if, how, when, or what it will effect.
All in all, the prognosis is as good as it can be for a person with a brain tumor. It’s statistically unlikely that the tumor will grow much in the next 12 months and the doctors hope that he can go 5, 7, or more years before it grows enough to need radiation. For now, his brain is working well and his body function is good. Mike will be going back to Michigan at the end of the month and start observational MRIs every 3 months at U of Michigan most likely for now.