On June 24, I was privileged to attend the King 5 TV “New Day Northwest” show taping of Dellann Elliott and actress Jean Smart. They were there in tandem, putting faces and names to what we are learning is the most deadly form of cancer: glioblastoma brain cancer. Dellann lost her husband Chris to this disease and has launched a foundation to provide education, awareness, advocacy and when funds allow, research in his name. Jean Smart this year lost her sister, Georgia, to this aggressive cancer. When Margaret Larson, the New Day Northwest host, also revealed that her husband’s brother had died of a glioblastoma brain tumor, the audience was stunned. I believe we were all trying to make sense of a cancer that most of us were learning about for the first time.
I walked out of the building that day thinking: How did I not know this? Why was the word glioblastoma such a new word to me? How many other people has this horrible cancer killed? I immediately labeled this cancer a “stealth cancer” – in need of a cure yesterday. It then made perfect sense to me why Dellann and Jean have picked up the torch to speak to the masses, collaborate with medical and science professionals, and raise funds for research and a cure to this cancer. Their tireless efforts are what we can all relate to as “the best defense is a good offense.” Their weapons of choice: educate, advocate and fund!
With that in mind, humbly, let me share with you a few facts you may not know:
- Glioblastomas(GBM) or a “Grade IV” Astrocytoma, comprise 23% of primary brain tumors in the U.S., and are the most commonly diagnosed brain tumor in adults aged 45-74.
- Men are more frequently diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme than women, although this disease does not discriminate.
- GBM infiltrates into surrounding brain tissue making it extremely difficult to treat.
- Average survival rate of a GBM is just 12 to 15 months, with few patients surviving longer than three years.
- GBM is considered one of the deadliest of human cancers. Approximately 22,000 people will be diagnosed and approximately 13,000 will die from Glioblastoma this year alone.
- It is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in children under the age of 19.
- Currently, there is no known cure for the disease.
Laura E. Peterson
Friend and Sammamish plateau neighbor to Dellann Elliott