Sen. Ted Kennedy Has Brain Cancer
Doctors Diagnose Kennedy With Malignant Brain Tumor
WebMD News Archive
The newer treatments available
include oral chemotherapy. Oftentimes, the oral chemotherapy is combined with
the radiation treatments over six weeks and people tolerate it well. Hopefully,
he'll be released from the hospital soon and be able to begin his treatment as
You mentioned surgery. What
kind of surgery would that be?
Typically surgery can be a biopsy
alone to identify and document the specific type of tumor and prove that it is
a tumor. A biopsy alone is done if the tumor is located either deep in the
brain or in an area where removing tissue could cause neurological impairment
[brain damage]. Apparently, this may have been on the left side of his brain,
where speech function is located. So that may have been the reason why they
chose to do a biopsy rather than what we call a craniotomy, with tumor removal.
If the tumor is in an area that can be operated on, sometimes a larger surgical
procedure is done to remove as much tumor as possible. The limiting factor is
the location in the brain.
What is the left parietal lobe
The left parietal lobe does
control speech and various parts of language so that the decision needs to be
made by the neurosurgeon of what type of surgical procedure is the
Are radiation and chemotherapy
Very standard. Even if it is
located in an area that can be operated on more extensively, we know we
cannot remove all of the tumor because it is what we call an infiltrating
tumor. We talk about rootlets or tentacles of tumor that grow into the brain,
almost like fingers. ... We don't [expect] to be able to remove all of it
surgically, so we really rely on ... radiation and
What is the prognosis for this
sort of condition?
Well, it is a serious tumor.
Patients tolerate the radiation and chemotherapy well, and we have many
patients that have responded well to this combination of treatment. I think
that's how we usually describe the prognosis -- it's a wait-and-see type of
tumor where we have to see how well he responds to additional