As the mother of two young adults, I am terrified to learn that glioblastoma is the most lethal cancer in adolescent and young adults (ages 18 to 40). You may have heard of Brittany Maynard; a 29 year old glioblastoma patient who decided to forgo radiation and chemotherapy and died on her own terms. And Beau Biden, the son of Vice President Joe Biden, died of glioblastoma in 2015 at the age of 42. I am also concerned that the incidence of glioblastoma is highest in people over the age of 65 years. Thus the absolute number of glioblastoma patients will increase substantially in the next few years as more baby boomers reach this age.
The current standard of care for glioblastoma consists of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. With this care, patients are expected to live an average of 15 months longer. And that is it! All of the best available treatments extend most patient’s lives by just a little more than a year.
Radiation and chemotherapy can wreck havoc on a patient’s body, and patients such as Brittany Maynard choose to forego these treatments. Can you blame them? At present, the fact is that whatever longevity these patients gain is balanced out with an equal loss in quality of life.
Please join us to modify the current standard of care by replacing radiation and chemotherapy with better therapies that attack each patient’s tumor unique growth machinery, preventing it from ever coming back.
The Glioblastoma Foundation supports research that seeks to transform glioblastoma therapy. Together we can make glioblastoma into a manageable chronic disease.
Neelam Kwatra, MA