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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Ted Kennedy Has A Malignant Brain Tumor

Senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy (76) was rushed to the hospital after suffering seizures on May 17, 2008 and news reports have just come out saying he has a malignant brain tumor.

"Preliminary results from a biopsy of the brain identified the cause of the seizure as a malignant glioma in the left parietal lobe," according to a statement from the doctors treating the senator.


The usual course of treatment for Kennedy's type of tumor includes radiation and chemotherapy, said a statement from Dr. Lee Schwamm, vice chairman of the Department of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Dr. Larry Ronan, primary care physician at the hospital.

"Decisions regarding the best course of treatment for Sen. Kennedy will be determined after further testing and analysis," the doctors continued.

According to the Boston Globe, Kennedy's prognosis is "poor":

"Unfortunately, it's a really serious tumor," said Dr. Patrick Wen, clinical director for neuro-oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Mass. General described the tumor as a malignant glioma; Wen said that probably means the tumor is at stage 3 or 4 on a four-point scale of severity, with 4 the most serious.

"The average survival for a Grade 4 tumor is 14 or 15 months," he said. "For a Grade 3 tumor, it's two to three years. Unfortunately, the older you are, the worse it is. The biology of the tumor is worse, it's more aggressive."

Mass. General did not mention any plan to operate to remove the tumor, and specialists say that is probably because it is located in an area of the brain, the left parietal lobe, with many important functions, including speech and language. Tumors in this region can affect the ability to understand spoken and written words.

That same article says that specialists are not clear on how long Kennedy will be able to continue to perform his job as a United States Senator.