Youngstown doctor discusses importance of brain cancer awareness


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Relay for Life cancer fundraising events have been taking place across the Valley, but the month of May recognizes a lesser-known cancer.

Brain cancer is not as widely-recognized as breast cancer or pancreatic cancer, but the American Cancer Society says 24,000 people in the country currently suffer from brain cancer, including 42 here in the Valley.

Dr. Kene Ugokwe has been a neurosurgeon for 14 years. His office is in Youngstown.

This past year, Ugokwe said he has had eight patients with Glioblastoma, a brain tumor that grows rapidly and can cause headaches, nausea, drowsiness, blurred vision, personality changes and seizures.

“It’s the most common primary intra-axial brain cancer, and it’s also the most aggressive primary intra-axial brain tumor,” he said.

Ugokwe said each patient is different, and they will have different symptoms and side effects.

“No two patients with Glioblastoma are the same, and no two brains are the same, and so you can have two patients who have a tumor in the same exact location, but one patient’s symptoms are very different than the other patient’s symptons,” he said.

Treating Glioblastoma can be tricky. The latest clinical treatment from Duke University includes injecting the Polio virus directly into the brain.

“All of the data thus far has been very great, ’cause like I said, we don’t have a lot of great options and so every now and then we see these treatment options that look very promising,” Ugokwe said.

Ugokwe said he believes there isn’t much awareness for brain cancer because there isn’t a known cause, but he believes a cure will be found one day.

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