Brain Wafers Prolong Life Expectancy
So ugly, patients only had a four to six month life expectancy from the time of diagnosis, but, in 1996 researchers created a dime-sized device called a wafer.Doctors remove the patient's tumor, then wafers containing chemotherapy are put in place and after surgery, the patient undergoes radiation.
"When the wafer first came out there was a lot of interest, and then there was a little less interest because the survival difference was only a few months," said Litofsky
But now, a new study combining the wafer with chemo and radiation treatments sparked more interest from doctors.
"The amount of survival we're starting to see is in the range of twenty to thirty percent longer," said Litofsky.
Patients having the surgery come to recover at the Medical and Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit at the University Hospital. University Health Care is only one of three institutions in the country that did the study combining the wafer and oral chemotherapy.
"Aggressive treatment allows them to accomplish goals they might not have accomplished," said Litofsky. "It allows them to reach closure with their family members, it allows them to tidy up their affairs of state, it allows them to go to the grand canyon, if they never did that before," said Litofsky.
An opportunity others with this type of brain cancer didn't get in the past.Doctors occasionally use the wafer for other, less aggressive brain cancers. But for now, they're trying to get the combination treatment just right for future patients.