Nobody expects a shocking diagnosis for their significant other right before one of the most important days of their lives. Ariona Kryeziu’s life was altered significantly when her fiancee, 20-year-old Kayra Ozsezer, was diagnosed with stage 4 midline diffuse glioma. They are holding out hope, and have a GoFundMe to raise money for treatment.
Glioma develops from the glial cells in the brain. Glial cells are meant to support neurons in the brain. It is a central nervous system (CNS) cancer, meaning that it begins in the brain or the spinal cord. It’s one of the most common types of primary brain tumors. The effect these tumors have depend on their location and how fast they grow. The symptoms are also dependent on these factors, and symptoms may include headaches, nausea, vomiting, memory loss, confusion, issues with balance, vision and speech difficulties, changes in personality, seizures, or urinary incontinence. There are no known direct causes of this cancer, but there are risk factors to be aware of. Age is one of these factors, as the tumors usually appear in people aged 45 to 65, but anyone can develop one. Exposure to radiation is another factor, specifically ionizing radiation. This type of radiation is found in therapy for cancer patients and in the radiation caused by atomic bombs, not radiation from microwaves or power lines. Finally, family history of glioma can affect one’s likelihood of developing the tumor, but glioma itself is not a genetic disease. Treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, radiation therapy, and experimental clinical trials. Learn more about glioma here.
Kayra and his fiancee are looking into immunotherapy as a possibility for his treatment. Immunotherapy is a treatment in which the immune system is employed to fight cancer. This falls under the larger category of biological therapy, which uses living substances to treat cancer. The immune system’s job is to attack foreign, harmful substances that enter the body. Some people have tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) which respond to the tumor, and people who contain these cells often respond better to treatment than those without them. These cells show that the immune system has a natural response to malignant cells. Immunotherapy harnesses this ability to help the system better fight cancer. Specific types of immunotherapy include immune checkpoint inhibitors, T-cell transfer therapy, monoclonal antibodies, treatment vaccines, and immune system modulators. While this type of treatment has been approved to treat many different types of cancers, it is not as widely used as surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation. It can be given orally, topically, through an IV, or put directly into the bladder.
Kayra and Ariona’s Story
Kayra and Ariona got engaged after three and a half years of dating, and were planning a winter wedding before Kayra’s diagnosis. The couple is from North Acton in West London, and were ready to start a life together. Kayra began to present the majority of his symptoms while the couple was on vacation, and was diagnosed in Cyprus. The couple returned to London at the end of July, and Kayra was immediately admitted to the hospital. He began with radiation therapy, and afterwards he was put onto a chemotherapy drug called Everolimus. This drug came with extreme side effects, and he was quickly taken off of it. The doctors told the couple that there was nothing left to do for Kayra, but Ariona began to research other treatments, such as nanotherapy and immunotherapy. As of now the couple is still planning their wedding and looking into other treatments.
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