Published Aug 31, 2021
TV host Maria Menounos, 43, is sharing some very emotional moments of her life in honor of her late mother. In a heartfelt post, Menounos honors the 5-year-anniversary since her mother was diagnosed with stage 4 glioblastoma. She recalls the moment she and her mother heard the news.
In a touching tribute, Menounos penned a lengthy Instagram post about the day her mother was diagnosed with stage 4 glioblastoma (a type of brain cancer). The post also contained numerous photos of Menounos and her family, showing the deep love they shared. Menounos’ mother was diagnosed with the cancer five years ago, and passed away from the disease in May. Now, she’s giving all of us an inside glimpse into how she stood by her mother’s side after the diagnosis in order to ensure she could have the best help possible and try to be positive throughout the ordeal.
“I didn’t want to ask anymore questions in front of her as I wanted to shield her from as much as I could,” Menounos wrote. “I had spoken with the doctors already and knew it wasn’t good and was hatching a plan to fly her safely to LA to the best of the best. Our journey began that next day and for me it hasn’t stopped. I’m committed to sharing every ounce of information that helped us so it can help you.”
Menounos’ experience of losing her mother has inspired her to help others who are also going through these struggles. While talking to SurvivorNet in August, the TV personality discussed how she wants to help those trying to cope with this illness as well as loved ones who are impacted by it. She’s launched a podcast to do exactly that, and has been able to answer questions for those who want more information on brain cancer. She calls them her “cancer CliffsNotes.”
“I want to help arm people [with] information that will help in the journey,” Menounos wrote in the post. “I’m trying to figure out how to put all of this info together to share. Stay tuned.”
Glioblastoma is the most common form of brain cancer and is extremely aggressive and fast growing. The life expectancy for those diagnosed with glioblastoma currently stands at two years, but thanks to years of research there may be a new option for those battling the disease.
Relatively new treatment option Optune was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in October 2015, and is available to adults at the age of 22 or older. This tumor-treating therapy comes in the form of a cap that attaches to a patient’s head, where electric currents run through adhesive pads. These currents disrupt the division of cancer cells, which can delay the disease from progressing and thus extend the survival time for some patients. For half of the patients, two more years were added to their median survival, and a third of patients saw their survival rates go up by five more years.
“I just want to emphasize to patients that when I first started doing this in 1999, there were maybe less than 5% of patients with this disease that were alive two years,” Dr. Suriya Jeyapalan, a neuro-oncologist at Tufts Medical Center, told SurvivorNet in a previous interview. “Now we’re getting out to maybe a third of patients alive at five years. This is not your father’s brain tumor, and I want to sort of give a message of hope to patients. In the future we’ll add to these treatments and make it even better.”
Many people who have watched loved ones battle cancer have taken their experience and used it to help others going through similar situations. Similar to Menounos, fellow celebrity Patrick Dempsey lost his mother Amanda to ovarian cancer in 2014. She battled with the disease for 17 years, and experienced multiple reoccurrences throughout her life. While supporting his mother through cancer treatment, Dempsey decided he wanted to do more for those in the cancer community, and created The Dempsey Center as a way to help families and patients impacted by cancer receive the assistance they need through fundraising, workshops, and counseling.
“The impact of a cancer diagnosis in a family is devastating and it affects everything,” Dempsey told SurvivorNet in a previous interview. “Everything comes to a screeching halt, and you have to reevaluate how you look at the world, and how you go through it and try to find some normalcy in it.”