Sen. Ted Kennedy Has Brain Cancer
Doctors Diagnose Kennedy With Malignant Brain Tumor
WebMD News Archive
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
After the treatment, what sort
of recovery is likely or possible? Would he be able to step back into his
That would depend totally on his
energy, how he's feeling overall from the treatment, and if he has any
neurologic deficits from the tumor itself; how intact his speech is and his