Kennedys Surgeons Operate and Remove as Much of the Tumor as Possible .
Doctors say Kennedy was awake during tumor removal
"There is little or no pain because there are no nerve endings in the brain to 'feel' pain "!
His surgeon said the operation met its goal: removing as much of the tumor as possible to give the radiation and chemotherapy he'll face next a better chance to help. snip
What's next: Kennedy will stay at Duke for about a week, then return to Boston for further treatment.
"Almost no malignant gliomas are cured by surgery, but many of us believe that the more you get out, the next treatments, whether they be radiation or chemotherapy, have a better chance of working because there's less tumor there to fight," Ewend said.
Typical radiation treatment is five days a week for a month, using 3D imaging techniques that narrowly deliver the beams to the tumor, affecting as little surrounding tissue as possible.
Kennedy also likely will receive the chemotherapy drug Temodar during and after radiation. It can cause typical chemo side effects — nausea, vomiting and fatigue — but treatments are much better for these than even a few years ago, doctors stressed.
Kennedy also may be treated with Avastin, a newer targeted drug to deprive the tumor of its blood supply, though this is still experimental as initial treatment, rather than after patients have relapsed.
Median survival for glioblastomas is 12 to 15 months, but the range is wide, said Dr. Mark Gilbert, a brain tumor expert at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.