Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Senator Kennedy Diagnosed with Malignant Brain Tumor

(Bill Greene/Globe Staff)
Senator Kennedy was joined in a Mass. General solarium today by his son Patrick; stepson Curran Raclin; son Edward M. Kennedy Jr.; daughter Kara Kennedy; and wife, Victoria.


Boston Globe: Sen. Edward Kennedy diagnosed with brain tumor; prognosis seen as poor

US Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the veteran lawmaker from Massachusetts who is the last surviving brother in the legendary Kennedy family, has been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, his doctors said today.


The usual course of treatment for the tumor -- a malignant glioma -- includes combinations of various forms of radiation and chemotherapy, Dr. Lee Schwamm, vice chairman of the neurology department at the hospital, and Dr. Larry Ronan, Kennedy's primary care physician, said in a statement.

The doctors said decisions regarding the best course of treatment for the 76-year-old senator would be determined after further testing and analysis.

But other specialists said that the diagnostic details released by the hospital indicated that Kennedy has terminal brain cancer and most likely less than three years to live -- perhaps much less.

"Unfortunately, it's a really serious tumor," said Dr. Patrick Wen, clinical director for neuro-oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Mass. General's description of the tumor as a malignant glioma probably means the tumor is at stage 3 or 4 on a four-point scale of severity, with 4 the most serious, Wen said.

"The average survival for a Grade 4 tumor is 14 or 15 months," he said. "For a Grade 3 tumor, it's two to three years. Unfortunately, the older you are, the worse it is. The biology of the tumor is worse, it's more aggressive."

Mass. General did not mention any plan to operate to remove the tumor, and specialists say that is probably because it is located in an area of the brain, the left parietal lobe, with many important functions, including speech and language. Tumors in this region can affect the ability to understand spoken and written words.

No comments: