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Biopsy on Thalamus Tumor (Grade II or III based on multiple MRI reviews)

RollTide4651
Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2011

My 60 year old father was diagnosed with a suspected Grade II or III astrocytoma on his left thalamus yesterday. Needless to say this is a nightmare situation for me and my family. His only symptom at this point is mild numbness in his left hand and left side of his face. A couple of questions:

-With the location being the thalamus, we were told that the tumor is likely (but not certainly) inoperable. Based on this, is it worth taking the risk of immediate brain damage & functional loss by having a biopsy?

-Has anyone had experience with this type of tumor in this location? I realize we don't have all of the details needed at this point to make a prognosis, but would be interested in hearing stories from anyone with similar tumors.

-Also, I am actively making appointments with some of the top specialists to get the best possible treatment. Dr. Lemole in Tuscon, Dr. Friedman at Duke, and Dr. Harsh at Stanford are currently on our list. Does anyone else have any recommendations for surgeons considered leaders in this field?

Thanks to all!

AussieTeacher
Posts: 1
Joined: Nov 2011

Hi, I don't think I can help with any more information but just today my wife was told she has a tumor located in the thalamus (most likely cancer but further testing needs to be done) and we were heavily encouraged to get the biopsy.
I'm still looking for as much information that I can find, have you had any progress with your circumstances?

Orb319
Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2011

Hey,

I just had a biopsy done for a lesion in the left thalamus. It was growing for about 2-3 years but the neurosurgeon didn't want to do a biopsy until it was about 2cm. He explained that the thalamus is a particularly hard spot to reach and the risk of bleeding was too high to justify with such a slow growing lesion.

However it grew rather quickly after about 1.2cm and since it had grown big enough (or out of the thalamus not sure which it was)he decided it was safe to go through with it.

I had the biopsy with no complications. Woke up just fine no headaches or anything. I can't say the same for another biopsy in the foramen of monro which is much more accessible but ended up with a huge headache, nausea and fogginess for 2 days. Don't know why. Maybe because of the approach? Stereotactic biopsy for the thalamus and (non?) stereotactic biopsy for the other one?

Finnegans Mom
Posts: 12
Joined: Jan 2012

Hello!
My 16 month old son was recently diagnosed with a grade 3 thalamic tumor. How are you doing? May I ask what grade your tumor is? I am searching for others with my son's tumor type. I am searching for survivors and for hope. My son's tumor was originally large (2.6in in diameter) and 75% has been removed. He is having another surgery in less than a month and then chemo and radiation. You can email me at nmondroski@yahoo.com if you would like.

Nicole Mondroski
Madison, Wi

diamond24
Posts: 5
Joined: Aug 2011

I am sure by now you have had surgery or are in treatment. I just saw your post and wanted to share that my 17 year old son had a small 1cm tumor removed from the left thalamus successfully! Excellent surgeon at Barrows institute in phoenix, Dr. Spetzler.
He saved my sons life. He did not want to do a biopsy as he was confident he could remove.
No deficits or negative side effects from the brain surgery. (cranitomy) Had 6.5 weeks proton radiation. (less invasive as it targets tumor only) and is on chemo, temodar.
There is hope and he has a clear MRI now for 6 months. I wish you well and would love an update if you read this site. I am always looking for other encouraging stories. Thoughts are with you and take care!!!!!

Finnegans Mom
Posts: 12
Joined: Jan 2012

Hello!
My 16 month old son was was recently diagnosed with a grade 3 tumor in his thalamus. May I ask what grade your son's tumor was? I have been looking for others with thalamic tumors. Could you email me at nmondroski@yahoo.com. 75% of the tumor has been removed. It was rather large to begin with (2.6in) in diameter. I am searching for survivors. He has had 2 surgeries and will have another in less than a month. Then will have chemo and possibly radiation. They told me that there are only 12 documented cases of my sons tumor type and that all the children have died. I am searching for hope.

Nicole Mondroski
Madison, WI

Finnegans Mom
Posts: 12
Joined: Jan 2012

Hello!
How is your father doing? My 16 month old son has a grade 3 thalamic tumor. He has had 2 surgeries in which they removed 75% of the tumor. It was originally very large (2.6in in diameter) He is having 1 more surgery and then chemo and possibly radiation. He experienced a lot of weakness in the right side of the body since the tumor was on the left side but regained function the first time and will do it again. He is doing pretty good. He talks quite a bit and is very smart. I am searching for others with this tumor type and for hope. You can email me if you would like at nmondroski@yahoo.com

Nicole Mondroski
Madison, WI

mermaid678
Posts: 10
Joined: Dec 2011

Hello my boyfriend was recently diagnosed with grade II oligrodendoglioma aka low grade astrocytoma right on top of his thalamus his is about 5.5in. It is slow growing and because of the location they can't remove it. He had a biopsy and everything went very well. As long as you have a good nerusurgeon i'm sure the biopsy will go fine. Of course they have to tell you everything that can go wrong during surgery as we were very scared. He said that he could go into a coma a never wake up.Everything went just fine he was out surfing 2 days after the surgery with staples in his head! My boyfriend is only 23 years old and they said this type of tumor usually doesnt happen until the late 40's or 50's. So far he is on anti seizure medicine and they are just going to observe its growth for now since it cant be removed. he may have to have chemo and radiation ina couple years but we just don't know right now. I have not met very many people on here with this type of tumor on that thalamus. Maybe we can keep in touch and keep each other updated on things my e-mail is bchscheerldr07@aol.com if that is easier. But i wouldn't worry about the biopsy. Good luck with things -Susan

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