Terrible news. The fact that they are using radiotherapy first is not good news. Surgery is usually the first, best option unless it is in an inoperable location. Radiotherapy is more commonly done for follow-up treatment.
I lost my Dad to brain cancer this past May. We found out my Dad had a brain tumor when he had a seizure. By that time, a time that it had grown enough to cause a seizure, it was the size of a lemon and was categorized as a Glioblastoma, one of the most agressive types.
We later found another tumor in my Dad which was an astrocytoma, like Richard's has been referred to. It grows more slowly than a Glio but it's still really bad news. On some scale of agressiveness, the glio was a 4 and the astro a 2-3.
The real trouble is even the most trained doctors in the world have tons of questions unanswered. We were at Duke, here in NC where Dr. Henry Friedman runs the brain tumor center. People fly here from all around the country to be under Henry's watch and guidance. Even with all the ideas and different drug trials and different chemo and radiation plans they have it's usually fatal.
My Dad died 14 months after he was diagnosed, we're thankful and blessed we had 14 months to get things straight and be with him. In the end it wasn't the tumor which killed him, it was the continual drain on his body from all the chemo drugs used to fight the tumor growth.
My heart goes out to Richard and his family.
[edited to remove my statement that astro was malignant, it may not be...]
That's not good. That's a brain tumor, but not necessarily malignant. Here's a little information about treatment:
Where possible, surgery is the first form of treatment for astrocytoma. The aim of surgery is to remove as much of the tumour as possible without damaging the surrounding brain tissue. Depending on the size, position and spread of the tumour it may not be possible to remove it completely and further treatment may be given as a follow up to surgery.
Astrocytomas in the cerebellum are easier to treat than those in the cerebrum and they can sometimes be removed completely by surgery. High-grade tumours, because of their tendency to spread, are the most difficult tumours to treat and surgery is always followed by radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy.
Some tumours, particularly high grade, cannot be reached by surgery, or the risk of damage to the surrounding brain cells is too high. If surgery is not possible your doctor will discuss other forms of treatment with you.
Radiotherapy treatment (the use of high-energy rays to destroy the cancer cells) is often used after surgery to destroy any remaining malignant cells. It may be used alone, or with chemotherapy, to treat astrocytoma if surgery is not possible. Radiotherapy is usually given as an external treatment but it may also be given in the form of radioactive implants.
I lost my father to a long battle with cancer, and one of my best friends had a benign tumor next to the pituitary that had to be removed.
It's a difficult thing be close to someone that has something evil growing inside their skull. It's a shakeup for the teams next year, but that's a small thing to compared to what Richard and his family will experience. My thoughts will be with them as Richard undergoes treatment.