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Tom Parker Shared an Emotional Update About His Brain Tumor

“We are all absolutely devastated but we are gonna fight this all the way,” he wrote on Instagram. “It’s gonna be a tough battle but with everyone’s love and support we are going to beat this.”

In January 2021, Parker reported that his tumor was responding to treatment. “SIGNIFICANT REDUCTION,” he wrote. “These are the words I received today and I can’t stop saying them over and over again. I had an MRI scan on Tuesday and my results today were a significant reduction to the [tumor] and I am responding well to treatment.” He added, “Everyday I’m keeping on the fight to shrink this bastard!”

Glioblastoma is an aggressive type of brain cancer, and while rare it is the most common kind of malignant brain tumor to occur in adults, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI). About 14,000 cases are diagnosed in the U.S. annually. 

This type of cancer begins in the brain or spinal cord, when a tumor develops in a certain type of central nervous system cell that helps support neurons, the American Cancer Society (ACS) explains. Scientists have a lot to learn about what causes glioblastoma, and the underlying cause is not usually known. But certain genetic syndromes may be risk factors, according to the ACS, as well as, potentially, a family history of similar cancers or previous radiation exposure. 

Glioblastoma signs and symptoms often begin suddenly when the tumor starts putting pressure on brain tissue, and the exact symptoms someone experiences will depend on the size and location of the tumor, according to the Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD) at the National Institutes of Health. Those symptoms might include seizures (as Parker experienced), headaches, memory problems, difficulty speaking, changes in personality, drowsiness, changes in vision, nausea, vomiting, and weakness on one side of the body. The cancer is usually diagnosed with a physical exam (identifying symptoms) and imaging exams (like CT or MRI scans), and a biopsy if surgery is performed. 

The prognosis for individuals with glioblastoma is generally poor, though it depends on factors like age, treatment, and how much of the tumor can be surgically removed. In addition to surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are typical treatments. Scientists are studying better ways to diagnose and treat brain cancers like glioblastoma. While chemotherapy and radiation are both connected with better outcomes, according to GARD, even with treatment, many people die within a year of diagnosis—making Parker’s latest update all the more remarkable. 

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