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Winston-Salem father beats stage 4 ‘glioblastoma’ brain cancer twice

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina — May is Brain Tumor Awareness Month.

According to BrainTumor.org, people diagnosed with glioblastoma have an average survival rate of only 6.9%, with survival time estimated to be less than a year.

A local patient defies all odds and continues to do well.

Brian Anderson is a walking miracle, beating brain cancer not once but twice. Fifteen years after his first diagnosis, Anderson is sharing his message of hope with other cancer patients.

At the age of 27, Anderson’s life changed. He said it started with headaches, but then turned into something more serious.

“I did the MRI, and when I came out and got the text, it was obvious something was wrong,” Anderson said. “I found out it was stage 4 glioblastoma.”

The aggressive brain tumor affected Anderson in several ways.

“I have vision loss, I have confusion, I have short-term memory, it affects daily life. There are a lot of things I’m trying to overcome,” Anderson said.

Dr. Glenn Lesser of Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Medical Oncology and Hematology works with Anderson on treatments and routine exams. He said his patient was a unique case.

“This is a terrible disease for most patients, and unfortunately they don’t have or enjoy the long-term survival that Brian was able to have,” Lesser said.

Lesser said there are 20 to 24,000 new cases per year with diagnoses of this tumor in the United States.

“It’s the most common adult brain cancer that we see. It’s a cancer that starts in the brain, not a cancer that spreads through the brain. We call it a primary brain tumor. Glioblastoma is the most aggressive but common one we see in adults,” Lesser said.

Anderson said after being diagnosed in 2009, he didn’t expect the cancer to return in 2020. He said having a great support system has been his recovery throughout his journey. He says he wants to support those currently battling cancer.

“I want to share my situation with others, help them in any way I can and support them. Because without my support circle, it would be a different fight, and I don’t know if I would be here.” , said Anderson.

Anderson leaves with a message for everyone.

“Know your body; if something is different, go see a doctor,” Anderson said.

Anderson is currently cancer-free. He said his next meeting with Lesser would be in August.

For now, Anderson said he is setting a new goal in life, which is to return to school to earn his master’s degree in social work to help other cancer patients.


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News Source : www.wral.com
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