This week, a press release from the office of South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham announced the designation of May 17th as Glioblastoma Awareness Day.
The Senate Resolution was cosponsored by Arizona senators Kyrsten Sinema and Martha McSally, as well as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator/Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren of Kentucky and Massachusetts, respectively.
The resolution hopes to bring further awareness to glioblastoma, a highly aggressive form of brain cancer. Almost 50% of brain cancers are glioblastoma, which can be extremely difficulty to treat because of where and how the tumors form.
The resolution comes in the wake of the death of former Arizona senator and respected member of the Republican Party John McCain, who was diagnosed with glioblastoma in 2017.
Glioblastoma is an aggressive brain and spine cancer that forms from malfunctioning support cells called astrocytes.
Astrocytes are a ubiquitous type of glial cell, outnumbering neurons in humans more than five times over. They are found throughout the entirety of the central nervous system and are an essential component of many complex mechanisms therein.
Because glioblastoma tumors form from these support cells, they grow not only around but physically into surrounding brain tissue. As a tumor grows, it becomes, essentially, impossible to completely separate from healthy nerve cells.
Treatment options for glioblastoma are limited. Surgery to remove the majority of a glioblastoma is often followed-up with radiation, drug, and/or chemotherapies to target whatever of the tumor remains. These treatments can slow the progression of glioblastoma, but full recoveries are rare.
About Glioblastoma Awareness Day
The Senate Resolution designates May 17th as Glioblastoma Awareness Day.
Senators hope the resolution will bring more attention to the disease that affects about 3 of every 100,000 Americans.
Despite the positive message of the resolution, frustration has dominated most discussion of healthcare in the nation’s capitol. The sponsors’ histories on health issues are, it would be fair to say, a mixed bag.
Hopefully, however, Glioblastoma Awareness Day is more than just virtue-signalling posturing in the run-up to an election year. Policies put forward by the current administration in particular have many Americans concerned about the future of healthcare in this country. Calls for disease awareness in the face of repeated Presidential requests to cut funding for the National Institutes of Health add to the air of confusion that seems to hang perpetually over Washington.
Do you plan on observing Glioblastoma Awareness Day? What role do you think awareness of a disease can play in its treatment? Share your thoughts with Patient Worthy!