Seve Ballesteros brain tumor

Published:

Golfing legend Seve Ballesteros could be in grave danger, Brain Tumour UK warned today, following confirmation that he has been diagnosed with a brain tumour after suffering a seizure last Monday

Snr Ballesteros is to undergo a biopsy today (14 October).  The biopsy is likely to be a two-stage process.  First, an inter- operative biopsy will involve viewing some cells from the tumour on a glass slide for immediate confirmation that it is actually a tumour and to give an indication of what type.

Then, a sample of the tissue will be "fixed" - probably in formaldehyde - before being sectioned (thinly sliced) and stained for detailed analysis by a pathologist.  It may take up to three days for formal diagnosis to be confirmed, depending on the tumour type.

Adults of Snr Ballesteros' age group and presenting with his initial symptoms are likely to have a primary tumour affecting the temporal or parietal lobe at the front of the brain.  It is most likely to be a grade four astrocytoma called glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).

GBMs account for more than half of all primary tumours in adults and can be extremely aggressive, often growing back within a few weeks of
surgery.   Glioblastoma patients survive for around 11 months on
average, although a small number survive for five and even ten years.

Jenny Baker OBE, chief executive of Brain Tumour UK, lost her 24-year old son Stephen to a GBM in 2004 and says:  "We remain optimistic for Seve, but he could be in grave danger.  Brain tumours are often very unforgiving and the lack of research into this devastating disease means that treatment options are very limited."

Brain tumours claim an average of 20.1 years of life from a person.
This is more Average Years of Life Lost (AYLL) than any other cancer, including leukaemia (13.6 AYLL) and breast cancer (13.5 AYLL) [1].
Yet despite their severity, brain tumours receive just 1.4 per cent of the research funding for cancer in the UK, amounting to just £2.2 million in 2006 from a total cancer site-specific spend of £158.7 million