SEATTLE, WA (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Massive headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness; these are the signs of a brain tumor. Each year 41 thousand people are told they have one. Now, a new device is helping put a cap on tumor growth.
Beach volleyball, surfing, and skiing, Reggie Chan does it all. In fact, until a year ago, Reggie would ride his bike 15 miles to work and 15 miles back, but now riding his new trike is getting harder and harder.
“I woke up and felt my left foot was kind of still asleep,” brain tumor patient, Reggie Chan , told Ivanhoe.
It was the effects of a deadly brain tumor called glioblastoma and it all started with a headache.
“Right then and there I knew our lives were changed forever,” Reggie’s wife, Laurie Chan, explained to Ivanhoe.
Most patients only live a year after diagnosis.
“The tumor sort of infiltrates a healthy brain and that’s why it’s so difficult to remove completely,” Neurosurgeon at the University of Washington Medical Center, Dr. Maciej M. Mrugala, MD, PhD, told Ivanhoe.
Doctors at the University of Washington are some of the first to use this FDA approved cap, called T-T Fields, to help kill the cancer. A battery pack fuels the electrodes. At the right intensity, the electricity stops the cancer cells from growing, even killing them. Reggie has been wearing the cap all day long, every day for the past four weeks.
“Actually it’s working, the tumor has shrunk again,” Reggie Chan said.
Even though the electrical fields can shrink tumors, they do not hurt healthy cells and early studies show there’s no other serious side effects. Right now T-T Fields therapy is only being used for patients whose glioblastomas have regrown, but clinical trials are beginning for patients newly diagnosed.
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