A Tragic Mistake
- 29-year-old Andi Peel began complaining of severe headaches in 2019 while he was managing a Carphone Warehouse store. When he visited his general practitioner in hopes of addressing his discomfort, he was told that it was likely a reaction to the stress of his job.
- Soon after, he found himself back in the hospital. His symptoms had not improved and he had suffered a sever panic attack that left him disoriented. Again, he was told that the problem was stress from work.
- It wasn’t until his third doctor’s visit that Peel learned that he had an incurable brain tumor. Now, the tumor has left him completely blind.
Peel, 29, began complaining of severe headaches in 2019 while he was managing a Carphone Warehouse store. When he visited his general practitioner in hopes of addressing his discomfort, he was told that it was likely a reaction to the stress of his job.Read More
It wasn’t until January 2020 that Peel’s tumor was finally diagnosed. He visited his doctor a third time because he was alarmed by the amount of pain he was experiencing. At one point, he had to pull his car over to the side of the road because his extreme pain made it dangerous to drive.
That’s when Peel learned he had a glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive kind of brain tumor. Even with chemotherapy and radiotherapy, Peel’s tumor has continued to grow, and he is now completely blind.
Peel’s aunt spoke to DailyMail about her nephew’s scary diagnosis. “’When we got confirmation that it was a GBM, it was like a death sentence,” she said. “Andi didn’t want to know how long he had to live, but Google will tell you it’s 12 to 18 months.”
“Since December 2020, Andi hasn’t had a stable scan,” Peel’s aunt said. “The tumor has grown, and we’ve been told there is no longer any treatment available for him…His vision started to deteriorate in October 2021 and he is now totally blind. Until you have to face this sort of reality, you don’t understand how stark the facts are.”
Peel’s family hasn’t been able to find much hope, but they are still fighting. His loving aunt plans to walk 10,000 steps every day of next month to raise money for brain cancer research.
Glioblastoma grows rapidly and is located in the brain, the most protected part of the body. This means that surgery should be performed swiftly and there are few drugs that can even reach the tumor given the impenetrable blood/brain barrier.
What’s more, the cells are heterogeneous, meaning that each one must be individually targeted to slow tumor growth.
Experts explain the Optune for treating glioblastoma and help you understand how tumor treating fields work to fight cancer.
Additionally, surgery often can not remove all of the cancer because of the way the tumor burrows into the brain, so the tumor starts to grow again immediately after surgery.
The average survival rate is 15 months with treatment, and less than six if left untreated, according to the National Cancer Institute. And while there is a five-year-survival rate of approximately 6%, those individuals will never be cancer-free and must continue receiving radiation and chemotherapy for the rest of their lives.
How it Grows
Dr. Jon Weingart of the Johns Hopkins Comprehensive Brain Tumor Center explains that glioblastoma is a “grade 4 glioma brain tumor arising from brain cells called glial cells.”
The grade refers to how likely the tumor is to grow and spread, with grade 4 being reserved for only the most aggressive tumors.
New hope is on the horizon for those battling glioblastoma.
In the case of glioblastoma, “the tumor’s cells are abnormal, and the tumor creates new blood vessels as it grows,” explains Dr. Weingart. “The tumor may accumulate dead cells in its core.”
And at this time, there is little more that is known about glioblastoma.
“Despite all the advances in treatment, we still don’t understand what causes GBMs,” says Dr. Weingart.
What is known is that glioblastoma is not hereditary, is diagnosed in adults more than children, and is slightly more common in men.
There are studies that have presented evidence which link the tumors to cell phone usage, exposure to radiation, or working in a rubber factory, but little else beyond that is known.
Contributing: SurvivorNet Staff