From Karyn M. Dyehouse, MD, OHC medical oncologist, hematologist and neuro-oncologist
June 11, 2019
“Glioblastoma is one of the worst cancers,” said OHC medical oncologist, Karyn M. Dyehouse, MD, who specializes in neuro-oncology. “I feel such sympathy for patients with it because it grows so quickly and it affects so much of their lives since it’s pressing on the brain. At OHC, we offer an option to help patients deal with the symptoms of this aggressive cancer.”
Dr. Dyehouse’s patient Richard Roller was experiencing troubling symptoms often seen in a person with glioblastoma: headaches, nausea, problems walking, memory loss, and the one his wife noticed the most – personality changes. Glioblastoma is an aggressive type of cancer that can occur in the brain or spinal cord. It can be very difficult to treat and a cure is often not possible. But that all changed when he was offered Optune.
Optune is made of strips of electrodes that cover a patient’s shaved head. The electrodes create low-intensity, alternating electrical fields that are designed to slow the growth of cancer cells. Optune can also shrink the tumor, which alleviates pressure on areas of the brain where the tumor is located, thus restoring regular functions. In a large clinical study, people who added Optune to chemotherapy had a greater opportunity to live longer than those who used chemotherapy alone. Nearly 50% of people on Optune plus chemotherapy were alive at two years compared with 31% of people on chemotherapy alone. And people in the study were also able to maintain their mental, emotional, and physical well-being longer than those on chemotherapy alone.
“Before Optune, Richard couldn’t walk. He couldn’t understand me when I talked to him. He couldn’t do basic math and had horrible short-term memory. Most of all, I missed his sense of humor,” explained his wife, Cathy. “Dr. Dyehouse told us about Optune, and once he put that cap on, everything changed back!”
As we continue to work toward a cure, we offer patients treatments like Optune that help with the symptoms and give them more time that is of better quality,” Dr. Dyehouse added.
Richard agrees with OHC’s approach.
“At first, I was worried I’d look foolish, but then I decided if it gives me more time, why not try it,” he said. “Now I’m able to read again, one of the things I enjoy doing. I still can’t play the violin though.” When asked how long he’d been playing, he said with a wide grin, “Oh, I never have.”
Pictured is Richard Roller showing his Optune cap covered and uncovered.Comments (0)