Brain cancer spotlighted after Beau Biden's death
According to the American Brain Tumor Association, about 14,000 people will die this year due to complications from a brain tumor.
On Saturday night, Beau Biden, former Delaware attorney general and eldest son of Vice President Joe Biden, lost a battle with brain cancer.
While no details have been disclosed about Biden’s condition, news sources, including The Daily Beast and Washington Post have reported on what it might have been. The most common type of primary brain tumor, tumors that originate from the brain as opposed to other areas of the body, are gliomas, which represent 80 percent of malignant tumors, according to the American Cancer Society.
Steven Falchuk, an oncologist at Christiana Care’s Helen Graham Cancer Center, said that even after treatment, gliomas are likely to return.
"I don’t know of course specifically about Beau Biden’s case or what type of tumor he had, or what procedures that were done, but in general, with malignant gliomas have a propensity to come back at some point," said Falchuk.
In 2013, Biden had a small lesion removed from his brain at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX. Afterwards, he announced having a “clean bill of health,” but rarely made public appearances.
Elizabeth Wilson, president and CEO of the American Brain Tumor Association, says that awareness of brain tumors is low among the public. While deaths of public figures like Biden draw attention to the disease, she says there needs to be more awareness to improve services for patients who become diagnosed with the condition.
“Part of the problem nobody understands it and so nobody is prepared for the brain tumor when they get that diagnosis. The American Brain Tumor Association is committed to closing that gap and helping more people in the general population understand all the complexities," said Wilson.
Beau wasn’t the only Biden to have suffered from a brain condition. His father, Joe Biden, underwent surgeries in 1988 to repair two brain aneurysms.