Sandy Hillburn of Fort Lee, NJ had no idea what was wrong when she started feeling tired nine years ago. After several doctors couldn’t find the cause, Hillburn underwent a CT scan. At 59, she was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive, fast-growing brain tumor.
The prognosis for glioblastoma is grim. Even after surgery, glioblastomas often grow back. The few treatments available are mostly ineffective. Typical life expectancy for people with glioblastoma is about 15 months.
It didn’t take long for Hillburn’s family to discover the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke, which is internationally recognized for its glioblastoma research and treatment. After neurosurgeon Allan Friedman, MD, removed her tumor, Hillburn underwent chemotherapy and radiation to kill any remaining tumor cells.