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Anaplastic Astrocytoma Grade 3 - Trying to Understand

Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2017

Please help me to understand. My girlfriend has been diagnosed with AA3 - again. She's 22:

In December 2016 she had her brain tumor surgically removed. She did not undergo chemotherapy nor radiation because she was told at the time that the chemotherapy would not help the specific cancer that she had, and was not recommended to have radiation for her specific case. After her surgery, she followed up with MRI's that came back clear. She had her most recent MRI in June of 2017, and was told everything looked good and that she was still clear. Yesterday, she spoke with a different doctor who had reviewed her MRI scans (from June), and she was told that another tumor is present. This second tumor is quite smaller, and is in a different area but still near her original tumor. 

The doctor that we spoke with yesterday is recommending her to undergo chemotherapy and radiation at the same time over a 9-month time period. I'm still trying to wrap my head around this and understand everything. So, where do I start? 

1. Has anyone had a similar case/experience?

2. Should she get another opinion?

3. What is it like to undergo chemotherapy and radiation at the same time? Of course we asked this when we spoke with the doctor, but I'd like to hear from personal experience. 

4. Recommendations for supporting a 22 year old going through this?

I'm 23, I've never had to experience someone with cancer before. Although we had plenty of questions for the doctor yesterday that were answered, I feel like I still have so many questions. Can anyone relate?

I'm open to all answers, advice, and further questions. Thank you!


Posts: 10
Joined: Oct 2014

 I would definitely get a second opinion if you’re hearing such a discrepancy between doctors over the same MRI. And astrocytoma needs radiation and chemotherapy.  If it was originally found to be a lower grade such as a one or two, it may not of been treated with radiation and chemo therapy because it’s not considered malignant at that point, but if it has has grown to a grade 3, it is considered malignant and needs further treatment past surgery.  It sucks to have to hear that, but I went through it all from the period of 2013 to 2014 and I have been very blessed to have clear MRIs ever Since.

 I think that you have a right to feel comfortable with your doctor, and if you’re questioning what the doctor is telling you then it is time to get another opinion. Having great doctors, family, and God has gotten me through the past four years.  My oncologist has been amazing, but  I have experienced doctors who have made me feel like I was on my deathbed even though they were reading a clear and stable MRI. If an MRI comes back clear and stable and the doctor is still negative, it’s time to get another doctor. Find somebody that you trust! 


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