Sen. Ted Kennedy Has Brain Cancer
Doctors Diagnose Kennedy With Malignant Brain Tumor
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
How rare is this type of
Every year in the United States,
there are about 18,000 new primary brain tumors, and over half of those tumors
are some type of malignant glioma.
Do you think he may have had
this for a while? How quickly do these develop?
That's a question that most people
usually ask and we don't know. I think for some patients, it's very active or
aggressive from the very beginning, and so they can grow very quickly, probably
over weeks to months, and that's probably his type. Others start as a less
active tumor and then over time become more active, and those can be present
for a longer period of time. It sounds like his symptoms developed rather
recently, and that suggests to us that it probably has not been there very
The doctors mentioned other
tests and analyses. What types of additional tests would the doctors be
I suspect they may be doing some
more specialized pathologic studies on the [biopsy].
Is that a tumor grade or
They may try to set tumor grade.
This is not a tumor that tends to metastasize [spread] outside of the
nervous system, so we don't typically stage it like we do other tumors that can
spread to lymph nodes or to other organs in the body. But we do oftentimes a
grading of the tumor cells to see how active or aggressive the tumors would be.
That may be what they're working on with special staining and special tests
from the neuropathologists. There are also some newer, what I would say
investigational, studies looking at the pathology to try to determine what
types of treatment might be appropriate for him, more specific types of