- Sonia Scott, 48, was suffering from headaches and eventually had a seizure before she was diagnosed with stage four glioblastoma. Sadly, her doctor’s initial thought was menopausal symptoms.
- Symptoms of brain tumors are often caused by increased pressure in the skull. Symptoms may include headache, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, balance problems, personality or behavior changes, seizures, drowsiness or even comas. It is important to note, however, that these symptoms are not exclusive to brain tumors.
- Glioblastoma is an aggressive form of brain cancer. And though it technically has no cure, one of our experts says a diagnosis does NOT mean you are dead.
The single mother of four from England first started talking to her doctor about her symptoms when she experienced headaches. Unfortunately, she was told they were likely caused by menopause stress and depression.Read More
Then, on August 25, 2021, Scott had her first seizure whilst driving.
“It was like an aura passed my eyes followed by facial twitches and body tremors – it was extremely scary I couldn’t control it,” she said. “Luckily my two youngest children weren’t in the car, and I didn’t endanger anyone else. I managed to keep the car stationary and a concerned passerby called the emergency services.”
Scott was then taken to the emergency room as a precaution and sent home with instructions to wait for an MRI appointment. On September 6, an MRI revealed a mass and she was booked for a biopsy. Sadly, she says the operation was cancelled three times before she finally underwent the procedure on on October 22. She needed more surgery after the fact due to an infection, and finally got the results from her biopsy on December 2.
“I was told I have a grade 4 incurable tumor,” she explained. “I was alone receiving this distressing news because of Covid and I couldn’t take it in – I was numb with shock.”
The prognosis for Scott is not good, but she’s already surpassing expectations. She’s currently seeking second opinions and alternative medicines to prolong her life while undergoing chemotherapy treatments. So far, she’s had 33 rounds of radiotherapy and seven weeks of intensive chemotherapy, and she’s currently undergoing maintenance chemotherapy and scans every six weeks as well as private holistic treatments such as hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
“It’s a lonely and difficult place to be on this journey,” she said. “As a single mum, I have always been so independent and it takes a lot of mental effort for me to ask for help.
“But I’ll do anything for my kids.”
A fearless mother determined to fight for her children, Scott has started a GoFundMe page to help her undergo the most promising therapies possible.
“Right now I just want to be with them for as long as possible, that means more than anything,” she said of her children.
What Are Brain Tumors?
According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), brain tumors account for 85 to 90 percent of all primary central nervous system (CNS) tumors. The central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord and acts as the main “processing center” for the nervous system. Normal function of the brain and spinal cord can become difficult if there’s a tumor present that puts pressure on or spreads into nearby normal tissue.
There are many different types of brain and spinal cord tumors. Some are more likely to spread into nearby parts of the brain or spinal cord than others. Slow-growing tumors may be considered benign (non-cancerous), but even these tumors can cause serious problems.
General Symptoms of Brain Tumors
Symptoms of brain tumors, as a whole, are often caused by increased pressure in the skull. This pressure can be caused by tumor growth, swelling in the brain or blockage of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), according to the American Cancer Society.
General symptoms may include the following:
- Blurred vision
- Balance problems
- Personality or behavior changes
- Drowsiness or even coma
Additionally, MD Anderson Cancer Center notes that changes in the ability to smell can be a sign of brain tumors, and, more specifically, “strange smells” can be a symptom of seizures which can result from brain tumors.
Still, it is important to note that these symptoms are not exclusive to brain tumors. You should always consult with your doctor if any health problems arise.
Glioblastoma, also known as glioblastoma multiforme, is an aggressive form of brain cancer. It’s considered the most aggressive primary brain tumor, and it doesn’t technically have a cure. The standard of care treatment for someone with GBM usually consists of a surgical resection followed by radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
Nevertheless, brain cancer treatment options are expanding thanks to research. Dr. Henry Friedman, a neuro-oncologist at Duke University Medical Center, previously told SurvivorNet that progress is being made.
“You are not dead just because you’ve been diagnosed with a glioblastoma,” he said.
Along with his Duke colleagues, he’s looking into 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 said. “I think that the modified poliovirus is going to be a game-changer in glioblastoma… but I should also say that its reach is now extending into melanoma soon to bladder cancer.”