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Is a Biopsy Worth It?

cvconrad
Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2013

BACKGROUND:

My wife had a "probable" low grade glioma which was never biopsied due to its hazardous location in the medial left temporal lobe.  She rcv'd radiation in Nov 2009 and the lesion shrank 50% (26 to 13mm) and stabilized.  Had MRI every 4 months ever since and last one was Nov 2012 with no noticable change in size or enhancement. 

On Fri she awoke in an incoherent but consious state.   After ER, MRI showed multiple lesions in brain stem, left temporal lobe and 4 or 5 other areas with many smaller pockets of enhancements throughout center of brain. Based on history and significant rate of change, oncologist and neurosurgeon believe 99 percent confidence of high grade glioma but can't/won't make diagnosis/prognosis without a proper biopsy.

DILEMA:

Radiation is no longer an option.  Already had it.

Surgery is not an option. Location too vital.

Chemo might have 10% chance of briefly slowing.

Doing nothing could mean 8 to 10 months left (if lucky)

QUESTION:

Has anyone ever heard of a patient receiving ONLY chemo to retard growth of an agressive tumor?  My oncologist cannot build a plan without a proper biopsy and diagnosis.

Hope is very dim and there no plans to survive this.  What limited quality of life she has left could be significantly affected by chemo so why even bother with a risky biopsy?

In the end nothing changes. 

Why not enjoy what's left? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

librarymom
Posts: 5
Joined: Mar 2013

Hi There.

I am sorry to hear of your wife's diagnosis and progression.  Brain tumors are evil, and you are faced with a dreadful scenario in which there are no right or wong decisions, and no answers.

I am a 6year survivor of a grade II oligodendroglioma, and I have been in the position of making a quality vs quantity life decision as well when trying to weigh treatment options for myself.  I  think these life and death decisions that are forced upon us are among the most difficult things one could ever deal with in life, certainly something of which the general population knows nothing.

Is your wife being treated at a main brain tumor center?  I highly recommend this.  Where she is being seen is very important.  The knowledge and skill of physicians-neuro-oncologists to pathologists to radiologists to surgeons vary quite a bit from a local community hospital that only deals with a handful of such cases a year, to major hospitals which see thousands.

Have you considered clinical trials?  The most cutting edge and perhaps hopeful science is available through trials.

Yes, treatment decisions can be made without a biopsy, and perhaps there are surgeons that can indeed biopsy successfully to make informed treatment decisions.

Please feel free to contact me through the CSN email option and we can chat privately if you would like more information, or if you just need to talk to someone who knows what you are going through.  I am a research librarian who also happens to have a lot of personal experience in the brain tumor community through six years of my own survivorship, and many more vivarious years by virtue of involvement in several wonderful online brain tumor communities.

Take care and best to you...

scorpio79
Posts: 25
Joined: Nov 2012

Hi I am sorry to hear about your wife ...It is true that the doctors cannot determine the cause or proceed with treatment until a biopsy is done..We had to make the tough decision for my brother in law who was just 29 years old...We went for it with a hope that we can treat it...Once they did the biopsy they realized the tumor spread to his spine and they could do nothing....He lived for 1 month after that ..he died Feb 15th 2013....Theres never a right or wrong answer...I think both ways the end is known

 

Hope you can make the right decision for your wife

 

You will be in my prayers

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