Popular News Anchor Faces Brain Cancer
- Jovita Moore, a 52-year-old news anchor at Channel 2 in Atlanta, has been diagnosed with glioblastoma three months after she had part of two masses removed from her brain.
- The mother-of-three is now receiving chemotherapy and radiation to treat the aggressive form of brain cancer, for which their currently is no cure.
- “(Glioblastoma) is not something I can cure with surgery alone. The reason for that is that gliomas, and glioblastoma in particularly, they have these tentacles that go beyond the lesions that we can see on a scan and beyond what we can see with our operating microscopes,” said Moore’s doctor.
This comes just three months after Moore underwent surgery to have two masses removed from her brain. A biopsy was then performed on those growths, which resulted in a diagnosis of brain cancer.Read More
“You all are a part of her family, and as such, she wanted us to share this information and a message from her with all of you. Thank you for your love, prayers and support. It gives her more strength than you can imagine. Jovita asks that you keep sending the prayers and positivity her way as she fights this battle.”
Moore is undergoing radiation and chemotherapy to slow the cancer’s growth. There is no cure at this time for the aggressive form of brain cancer, which in recent years has claimed the lives of former senator John McCain and President Bien’s son Beau Biden.
The 52-year-old mother-of-three has yet to personally comment on the news but her close friend did speak about her prognosis and mental state as she battles the disease.
“Our girl is strong. Our girl is a fighter and she’s doing great every day,” said Condace Pressley. She has known Moore for more than two decades and is also the Community and Public Affairs Director at Channel 2.
“We laugh and you know sometimes we talk about stuff, and we may cry a little bit, but at the end of the day, she is a fighter, and she is surrounded by love and prayers and positivity.”
Pressley then added: “She’s a very strong woman and is raising three very strong kids who are, as we all are, right there with her.”
Moore also gave permission for her surgeon, Dr. Edjah Nduom, associate professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at Emory University School of Medicine, to weigh in.
“As a neurosurgeon, we like to pride ourselves with our skills and what we can do with our hands. (Glioblastoma) is not something I can cure with surgery alone. The reason for that is that gliomas, and glioblastoma in particular, they have these tentacles that go beyond the lesions that we can see on a scan and beyond what we can see with our operating microscopes,” explained Dr. Nduom.
“We know that our treatments do work. Radiation and chemotherapy certainly slow down lesions like this, but they don’t cure them. So that means we have to look for new options.”
He also made a point of sharing how good Moore was doing during her treatment.
“She’s done fantastic,” said Dr. Nduom.
“I was actually able to see her in clinic a couple of weeks ago. She was in good spirits, she was with friends and family as always.”
He also pointed out that Moore is responding well because she has maintained a healthy lifestyle and has a wonderful support system.
“All of these things play into patients who do better when they face a disease like this and I got to tell you, Ms. Moore’s got one of the best teams I’ve ever seen,” said Dr. Nduom.
Glioblastoma is the most aggressive primary brain tumor.
But Dr. Henry Friedman, neuro-oncologist Duke Cancer Center, previously told SurvivorNet in an earlier interview there is hope. Dr. Friedman is a top brain researcher in the U.S., as well as a neuro-oncologist.
“You are not dead just because you’re diagnosed with a glioblastoma,” he said. “So many people are told by their doctors or their institutions that they’re at, ‘I’m sorry, put your affairs in order and just move on.'”
Dr. Friedman and his Duke colleagues are investigating a new therapy that combines the modified poliovirus and immunotherapy. “The modified poliovirus is used to treat this tumor, by injecting it directly into the tumor, through a catheter. It is designed to lyse the tumor and cause the tumor cells to basically break up,” he told SurvivorNet.
“I think that the modified poliovirus is going to be a game-changer in glioblastoma,” explained Dr. Friedman, “but I should also say that its reach is now extending into melanoma soon to bladder cancer.”
Understanding the Standard of Care for GBM
The standard of care treatment for a GBM patient usually consists of a surgical resection followed by radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
A neurosurgeon will try to take out as much of the tumor as possible without causing any damage to critical brain structures. Depending on where the patient’s tumor is located, sometimes the surgeon can remove the entire tumor, while in other situations the surgeon is only able to remove a portion of the tumor. The goal, in both cases, is to get as much as possible in the safest way. After surgery, patients are given time to heal and regain their strength; usually during four to six weeks of recovery.
The next step is to start radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Most patients who need radiation therapy will have external beam radiation therapy, which is usually given every day (Monday – Friday) for six weeks, for a total of 30 treatments. Chemotherapy consists of a drug called temozolomide (also called Temodar) that is given daily with radiation. Unlike other chemotherapies, Temodar is a pill that is taken daily and does not require an IV or port placement. After radiation, patients will get additional chemotherapy using Temodar for 6 months or more depending on how they tolerate the medication.
Some physicians may also use a device called Optune, which goes on a patient’s head. Several electrodes are attached to the patient’s scalp to deliver an alternating electrical current. While patients do not feel this current, the Optune device has been shown to improve survival and slow tumor growth. However, it’s not for everyone. Patients who use Optune will need to shave their heads and wear the device for most of the day, so it’s important to discuss with your doctor about whether or not it’s a good fit for you.
Another standard of care option is to enroll in a clinical trial.