An In Depth Look At Brain Cancer In Eastern Carolina

Brain cancer is a rising issue in America and the impact can be felt right here in Eastern Carolina.

57 year-old Barbara Mills of Ayden was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in November of 2009.

She is one of 22,000 people that is diagnosed with brain cancer annually in the United States.

Mills had surgery in December to remove what doctors say was a glioblastoma multiforme tumor, the most common type of tumor.

Mills has battled through five weeks of chemotherapy and radiation treatments and take nearly 10 pills every day.

But, she says what hurts the most is knowing that brain cancer not only impacts her life, but the lives of those around her.

Mills said, "The hardest part has just been that, what it's done to my family. And, the things they've had to change because of me. Ya, know someone has to stay with me all the time. Someone had to carry me to my treatments, and I can't be left by myself at all."

Patients with glioblastomas normally have a grim diagnosis of 3 months to 3 years, but breakthrough research at the Lineberger Cancer Center in Chapel Hill may change the future. A study was released in late January by Dr. Neil Hayes, which found that glioblastomas have four different subtypes. It was a new discovery that researcher, Katherine Hoadley says could lead to personalized treatments in the future.

Hoadley said, "Hopefully the data that we've generated will help identify better treatments that are more effective in helping improve outcome for patients with glioblastomas."

While there is no concrete data to prove what causes brain tumors, studies from the world health organization have shown that this disease known as GBM, are hitting people of all ages. In the past 20 years, brain cancer in children 15 years-old and young have increase 35 percent.